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Goose
Why Eat It
Availability
Shopping
Storage
Preparation


Why Eat It

Before turkey was introduced to Europe in the 16th century, the citizens feasted on goose. Although not popular in the United States, this rich-tasting bird with its moist, dark meat is still the favorite for festive occasions in Scandinavia, Britain and central European countries. Whether wild or domestic, goose is as fatty as duck. Roasted without its skin, a three and a half-ounce slice of roasted skinless goose contains 13 grams of fat; in fact fat makes up nearly 50% of its calories. So, from the health standpoint, goose is definitely a fowl to be savored only on occasion.

Domestic geese usually weigh between six and 14 pounds; those under nine pounds are younger birds--less than six months old--and are often more tender than older birds.

Availability

Frozen geese are generally available from July through December. Fresh geese are more often available around Christmas, but should be ordered in advance from your butcher.

Shopping

Like ducks, geese are generally sold frozen, although you can sometimes find fresh birds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because frozen birds are shipped to market from July through December, they can be hard to find in the spring and the early part of summer. Geese usually have to be ordered from a butcher as they are not readily available in supermarkets. Check to see that the goose you are buying is free of feathers and that it has a clean smell. Frozen birds should be solidly frozen and there should be no tears in the wrapping.

Storage

A fresh goose will keep two to three days, but use it as soon as you can. A frozen bird will keep in a 0°F freezer for six months.

Preparation

As with all poultry, rinse the goose and pat it dry with paper towels before cooking. If the goose has been frozen, thaw it on a plate in the refrigerator, or thaw it in a sealed plastic bag in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes.

Roasting: Roasting is the preferred method of cooking goose. Carefully prick the skin all over without piercing the flesh so that the fat is released during cooking. Exercise care when cooking: A goose releases even more fat than a duck does, and as the fat accumulates, it can begin to smoke and may even catch fire. (For that reason, broiling goose isn't recommended.) Goose is done when it has reached an internal temperature of 180°F.

Poaching: Poach the goose in stock flavored with carrots, onions, celery, bay leaves, and peppercorns. When the goose is done, pour off the stock and brown the bird in the oven, which will cook out even more fat. Strain the stock and skim off any surface fat with a spoon. You can then make a light gravy by reducing the defatted stock and combining it with cornstarch. Cooking times: for poaching a young bird, one hour; for older birds (10 pounds or more), two hours. To brown the goose, bake for five to 10 minutes (or until browned) in a 450°F oven.

Roasting: Thoroughly prick the goose's skin all over, being careful not to pierce the flesh. Place the whole goose with the breast side up on a rack inside an uncovered roasting pan. Pour a small amount of stock or water--to a level of 1/2"--in the bottom of the pan to help prevent the released fat from smoking. (If you use stock, defat it after cooking and use as a sauce for the goose.) As a further precaution, use a bulb baster to remove the fat as it collects in the roasting pan. While the bird cooks, continue pricking the skin and basting the bird with the drippings to help release more fat. If areas of the bird seem to brown too fast, shield them with aluminum foil. Cooking time: 15 minutes in a 450°F oven, then lower the oven temperature to 350°F and roast for 20 minutes per pound. Allow the bird to stand 15 minutes before carving.



Date Published: 04/20/2005
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