Food

Goose.

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For unexplainable reason, Europeans, particularly north Europeans, have always been fond of goose, whereas in North America the popularity of this fowl is more or less concentrated on Christmas and New Year’s Eve,

Goose meat is darker (including the breast), fuller bodied, and more intensely flavoured than turkey. It is fatter and gamier than duck. Of all fowl, goose meat offers the most opportunities to match with wine.

Most associate Christmas goose with Victorian England. During the 19th century, in England, geese were served (like practically all other animals) at an older age than those of today – up to nine months as opposed to four to six months. Older birds are tough and the meat must be tenderised before cooking (through marination and aging) before cooking.
Today’s geese still have a whiff of gaminess, but just enough to appeal to the connoisseur. There is no need to tenderise chemically or mechanically as feeding and raising techniques have improved.

Turkey has been crossbred to the extent that its meat is more or less mushy; the birds are fed with specifically manufactures feed.

Geese have been spared this fate, because unlike turkeys, crossbreeding geese is much more difficult. The natural cycle of raising geese is still in tact: hatching, between April and July, and slaughter in September.

The U S A is a large producer of geese- California, Pennsylvania, and New York State produce most. Of course France produces a lot, as does Hungary, Poland and Israel, mostly for foie gras d’oie (fattened goose liver). Fattened goose liver is exported to France to be processed to pate ad many other products, Carcasses are used for roasting in Hungary, Israel, and Poland.

For centuries goose fat has been hailed as tasty and texturally rich, French are famous for their cassoulet using goose fat, parts beans and vegetable, but most famous of all now is confit of goose or duck. Confit means cooked in its own fat. If properly doe a confit of goose or duck is crisp, deliciously rich, and delightfully satisfying. Also it can be stored for months. White English, grey Toulouse and Chinese geese are the most popular with goose farms. Most geese are fed a mixture of corn, wheat and soybeans, although a few farmers feed their animals with vegetables including salads in California.

Mature geese carcasses weigh 18 – 19 lbs. (8 – 9 kg) although young animals weighing 10 – 14 lbs (4 ½ to 5 ½ Kg) are more popular with housewives. The yield improves with mature animals.

Free-range fresh geese tend to be more tender than those marketed frozen.

Goose

contains a high proportion of fat and must be properly cooked to provide the eating pleasure connoisseurs expect. A leg of roasted goose swimming in its own fat would hardly please anyone, except maybe a hard-working farmer who has a chance to sample it once a year.

You can either blanch the bird for a few minutes, and prick the skin to release the fat, or ‘crisp” the carcass in the refrigerator for a week, or roast for four hours at 250F (125C) in a convection oven, or start roasting at 475F (235C) for 15 minutes and reduce the heat to 375F  (180C) until done. Obviously, the bird must be basted frequently to prevent drying.

You can stuff geese with dried fruits (raisins, figs, or prunes, marinated in Armagnac or Cognac or rum). Rye or black bread is more suitable than regular white bread the stuffing can be cooked separately and passed around.

Goose

would smell more appealing if stuffed with apples, onion, celery, orange or lemon.

Unlike turkey, roast goose can be served without a sauce, as the meat is moist, but would benefit from the use of chutney made using nuts, and fall fruits (grape juice, apples, pears, figs, walnuts and hazelnuts).

In the past decade, North American gourmets discovered the tantalizing taste and texture of fattened goose liver.

It can be pan seared and served with a reduction of port wine, or simply sautéed to enrich lean cuts of grilled meat, or processed to pate, bloc, parfait, just to name a few methods of preparation.

Egyptians and Romans of antiquity knew about this delicacy, and maintained farms feeding geese with dried figs. Nowadays, geese are force fed with corn much.

Force-feeding is by all accounts a cruel way of raising an animal, but to date, other methods proved successful. In fact by force-feeding (by means of a long neck funnel stuck into the beak of the bird), the liver is made incapable of functioning, thus becoming excessively fatty and smooth. French products are very expensive in North America, and hence in both Quebec and New York State (Hudson Valley) several farms started specializing in producing fattened goose liver. Most go to restaurants in New York City. Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Some are exported.

Properly prepared fattened goose liver is an absolute delicacy for those who love smooth textured flavourful meat. Connoisseurs pair goose liver with fine Sauternes, or Beerenauslese or Tokaji (three or four puttonyos) wines. They claim this top be a match made in heaven!

Goose
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