Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting ready - preparing the Christmas goose

While we were still living in Manitoba, we shared our celebrations among three households, Reveillon with my husband's parents, Christmas day with my parents, and finally a party at my BIL's on Boxing Day.  Now that we live with no other family nearby, we've started to celebrate Wigilia on Christmas Eve.  Sort of.  There's pretty much nothing about the food that's traditionally Polish anymore!  Instead, we explore with different dishes and new foods.

This year, I'm doing a goose.

I've never cooked goose before.  In fact, I had been thoroughly turned off of goose the one time my mother served us a domestic goose.  Our previous experience had been with a Canada Goose my father had shot one year that was delicious, so we had high expectations.  I was pretty young, so I don't remember the taste all that much, but I do still remember being incredibly disgusted by the fattiness.  I don't think any of use were really able to eat it.  My mother never served goose again.

Over the years, I've encountered many references to goose and even goose grease, which had many uses, including medicinal.  Goose was clearly greatly enjoyed by many, with glowing descriptions of the flavour, and I could never understand why!

Fairly recently, while watching some Julia Child dvds, I discovered that goose skin was supposed to be pierced before cooking to allow the fat to drain out.  I now suspect that this was a step that got missed - we certainly never had to do it for any other birds we cooked!  Armed with this information, we decided to give it a try this year.

In going through my recipe books, I find myself turning once again to Mdm Benoit.  We'll be skipping the stuffing, but will roast the goose according to her basic method, then using a red wine/orange juice baste from modified from another recipe while it's baking.  The basic roasting instructions includes a 24 hour marinade, which I'm late for by a few hours.  The marinade is made up of:

Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup oil
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 onion, thickly sliced (my fresh onion is for something else, so I used dry)
1 clove garlic, halved
6 whole cloves
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1 handful parsley

The first step is to "Wipe the goose with a cloth dipped in vinegar.  Do not scald, nor soak in cold water, nor wash with soap."

Soap??

The recipe doesn't make for a lot of marinade.  The only container I've got that's big enough to hold the goose to marinade is my roaster.

Christmas Goose

That one clove of garlic looks so lonely and ineffectual!  What you can't see is the huge neck tucked under the bird.  I had expected the neck to be removed, like with a turkey.  It didn't come with the liver or heart or anything, either.  Oh, well.

I covered it with plastic wrap, since it won't fit in my fridge with the lid on.  I'll have to make a point of remembering to turn it after a few hours or something, since what little liquid there is is lining the bottom of the roaster.

Other recipes I looked at included things like "remove excess fat from inside the cavity," but I didn't find any.  I guess the company that preps these birds is rather thorough about such things.

I really, really hope this works out.  I may have been young that one time I had domestic goose, but the memory of that fattiness still gives me the willies. If, however, it doesn't work... well, we have lots of tourtierre!

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