A Quick Class On Goose (Prepping, Cooking and Pairing)
About Goose Meat
Unlike turkey meat, goose meat is dark. The meat is more boldly flavoured than turkey, and is even gamier than duck. Goose is also a bigger bird, which makes it fattier than duck. As such, the meat is juicier than other meats, due to the fatty coating, which allows it to be served without a sauce. However, it can benefit greatly from the presence of sauce, and I personally find the overall flavours of goose meat to round up nicely with the presence of a fruity sauce; my favourite being pink applesauce.
Back in the day, old geese where the only ones used for cooking, which meant the meat was tougher and required pre-marination and even tenderising. Nowadays, younger geese are on offer, making for a more tender meat, that does not require a lot of prep. Opt for a 4 1/2 – 5 Kg goose, these are usually younger birds, whose meat isn’t tough and won’t require tenderising. Wherever available, go for fresh, free range goose instead of the frozen ones as they are always more tender and better quality than the frozen ones, which are usually tougher.
(see end of this post for where to buy in Dubai.)
Flavouring & Flavour Pairing
The bold characteristics of goose meat ask for bold accompanying flavours. It has therefore been customary to accompany goose with strong flavours such as: roasted chestnuts, cabbages (very popular goose accompaniments in Northern Europe, especially the red varieties), pears, sultanas, truffles…etc. In the same effect, it is usually aromatised by pungent herbs such as sage & rosemary. The same also applies to pairing goose with wines.
Pairing with Wine
When it comes to pairing wine with food, the fattiness of the meat, the boldness of its flavour as well as the accompanying sauce are all to be taken into consideration. In general, with fatty meats, it is preferable to serve a slightly acidic wine, as acidity cuts through the fattiness. by slightly acidic, I am not referring to vinegar, I am rather suggesting a wine with a fair level of acidity. The wine has to also have the right structure against the meat, so going for a bolder more full bodied wine is preferable over the milder flavoured ones.
Going for fruit-based sauces, such as apple sauce, usually calls for a fruity white wine as the reds can be overpowering to the delicateness of apple sauce. However, most people expect to be served reds with goose, so why not have both at hand?
Common Wine Pairings with Goose
- Alsace Grand Cru Riesling (French white, perfect for goose with apple sauce)
- Barbaresco (Italian Red)
- Pinot Noir (more popular and less risk of being disliked by guests)
- Merlot is another popular wine paired with Goose and so is Syrah aka Shiraz.
Basic Goose Cooking Tips
Because geese have a high portion of fat, they must be properly prepared to provide eating pleasure. Serving a goose swimming in a puddle of fat is not exactly pleasing to the eye nor the palate. The most common goose prepping methods are:
- Some would blanch the bird for a few minutes, then prick the skin to release the fat.
- Others would ‘crisp” the carcass in the refrigerator for a week. Most would start roasting at 475F 280C for 15 minutes and reduce the heat to 375F 200C until done. This allows for the fat to start melting before the meat is heated through.
- I find, it is best to place it over a rack fitted in a deep baking dish, where the juices drip off. Prick the breast of the goose with a fork to allow fat to escape, which in turn will also help in crisping the skin. I drain off the dripping fat from the roasting tin, at least twice during the cooking, and use these drippings to baste the goose as it cooks. This prevents extra dryness of the breast while the rest of the goose cooks. Not only will the basting make for a moister meat, but it will also give it a beautiful golden brown colour.
Tip – the best thing about draining the dripping fat is that you will have goose fat to use in cooking later on. It keeps well in the fridge and can even be frozen for later use, like for instance when roasting potatoes and many other preps that call for goose fat.
Allow 35-40 minutes of roasting per Kilo in a preheated 370F-190C oven. Do not overcook your goose or the meat will be tough and not too pleasing to eat. If you own a thermometer then the suggested minimum internal temperature (from the innermost thigh) must register 165F. However, some suggest that it shouldn’t go past 150F for best eating experience. Personally, with geese, I go the time/Kg method and it has never failed me. I always end up serving goose that is tender, fully cooked through without the livery texture of being overdone! I do however, know the exact temperature of my oven (use oven thermometer to know the exact oven temperature).
You can stuff geese with herbs, dried fruits such as: raisins, figs, or prunes. Dried fruits can be pre-marinated in Armagnac or Cognac or rum if you like. You can go for a bread stuffing. Try Rye or Multi-grain bread for a change. Another very classic stuffing is sausage stuffing…
The stuffing can be cooked separately and passed around, check out the stuffing balls in the Roast Turkey Recipe in this link. Other stuffings include, fresh fruits, such as apples, pears and even peaches and pitted cherries with oranges. Or you can go for vegetables, such as onions or celery.
Hold the leg by the end knuckle, cut close to the body and twist off. Carve this leg meat. To carve the breast meat start from the outside working to the breast bone in the middle. Repeat for the other side. And to make things easier for you, I have included the video below as you can watch exactly how a goose is carved.
Where to buy Fresh Free Range Goose in Dubai this Festive season?
I have found them in Spinney’s – Springs Town Centre, Giant -Ibn Battuta Mall are also offering these. I know Carrefour did last year, but haven’t checked this year, however they do usually offer fresh goose, duck, rabbit and Turkey during the festive season.
Run, buy one before they are out, then come back and check my absolutely delicious Roast Goose Recipe on this link 😉
Happy Festive Roasting….