Roasting is the traditional way to handle a goose. But must we always bow to tradition? A braise is arguably just as flavorful as -- some say even more flavorful than -- a roast. And the meat stays moist and tender.
If you butcher your own goose for this recipe, you'll have enough byproducts to produce stock, pate, rillettes and a lot of beautiful, useful fat. If you'd rather have a butcher do it, make sure you take home the entire bird, fat and all. All of it can be used.
- 10-to-12-pound goose, butchered to 2 breast halves and 2 leg quarters
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 8 ounces smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 cups diced onion (about 3 medium onions)
- 2 cups diced carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 2 ribs)
- 1 cup diced fennel (from 1 medium cored bulb)
- 2 cups white vermouth or white wine
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 to 2 quarts goose stock (may substitute homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth)
- 8 shallots, peeled
- 1 pound turnips, trimmed, each one cut into 8 wedges
- 1 pound rutabagas, peeled, each one cut into 8 wedges
- 1 pound golden beets, peeled, each one cut into 8 wedges
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled, each one cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Rinse the goose pieces and use paper towels to thoroughly dry them.
Sprinkle the kosher salt evenly over the fat side of the goose pieces, using the heel of your hand to rub the salt into the goose. Use a very sharp knife to score the skin and fat of each piece in a half-inch grid pattern, avoiding cutting through to the meat.
Place the pieces on a rack over a sheet pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour and as long as overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels.
Heat a 7-quart ovenproof heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the leg quarters skin side down and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until they are well browned and some fat has rendered. Transfer the leg quarters to a large plate.
Cook the bacon in the rendered goose fat until the pieces are just starting to crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to the paper towels. Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the remaining fat. Add the onions to the skillet or Dutch oven and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and fennel, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the vermouth or wine, bring it to a brisk boil and cook until the alcohol smell has burned off, about 3 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan, and add the 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 cup of the parsley and the thyme. Nestle the leg quarters on top of the vegetables. Add enough stock to submerge all but the crispy skin on the leg quarters, and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven and cook (braise), uncovered, for 1 hour.
Remove the braise from the oven and tuck the shallots around the leg quarters. Spoon off some of the fat from the surface of the liquid. Return to the oven and bake for 1 hour.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the breast halves skin side down and cook until they are colored a toasty brown. Transfer to the skillet or Dutch oven with the vegetables, setting them into the liquids but leaving the skin exposed. Nestle the turnips, rutabaga, beets and parsnips around the goose. (If you run out of room in the braising pot, place the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spoon over some of the accumulated liquid from the braise, and slide the vegetables into the oven on a rack below the braise.) Return to the oven for 1 hour.
Make a gremolata by combining the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped parsley with the garlic, lemon zest and a generous pinch of kosher salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
To serve, remove the leg quarters from the braise, then bone and shred the meat. Slice the breast halves across the grain. Plate each individual serving with a large spoonful of the aromatic vegetables from the bottom of the pot, 3 or 4 slices of breast meat, a tangle of leg meat and some of the braised root vegetables, removed with a slotted spoon. Top with a generous amount of the gremolata.
From Washington food writer Cathy Barrow, who blogs at MrsWheelbarrow.com.
Tested by Cathy Barrow and Ally Kirkpatrick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.