The bird Bigging up
Regular Devon Life chef columnist CHRIS SHERVILLE reveals a way to make goose go further
Isaid ‘boo’ to a goose once. Sheesh kebab! That was a mistake. That goose lowered its head and turned into a hissing, screaming ball of fury, which chased me up a grassy bank, wings flapping and murder in its eyes.
I slipped and it was at me, battering me with its wings and pecking my head screeching and honking/howling in my ear. It was only a concerted effort by a group of friends that chased that demented avian away. ‘Boo’ became my middle name for some time after that.
I know two terriers, battered and scarred, who live on a farm on Dartmoor that will face down a badger, but they will not cross the yard when the goose is out there.
So, a bird with anger issues. No wonder then that they have been used as guards for livestock and people since Roman times. But they are also delicious.
As a traditional meat for the celebration of Michaelmas at the end of September, goose fairs were a traditional part of the autumn calendar when geese would be driven to market, first being led through warm pitch and sand to coat, and so protect, their feet for the miles of walking. Geese from Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk were driven to Nottingham Goose Fair, and birds from Cornwall and Somerset went to Tavistock in Devon.
Today we eat them mostly at Christmas and they are a rare treat after dry, tasteless turkey. One reason for that is the fat which covers the bird and bastes it to a rich buttery taste as it roasts. But one goose will only feed six, whereas a turkey of
the same size will feed many more and how many of us have the luxury of two ovens (well, me actually) and therefore I recommend a recipe that allows you to feed 10-12 from a single goose.
So here is my Three-course Goose dish, featuring confit goose leg with scallops and Hoisin dressing, goose sausage on rosti with caramelised quince and embrillo/sherry sauce, then roast goose breast.
Firstly, you need to begin 48 hrs before your meal. Sorry, that’s just the way it is to have this delectable dish.
Take the legs off the bird and salt them using a mixture of 4 tbsp coarse sea salt, 4/5 sprigs of fresh thyme, four finely chopped bay leaf, six fat cloves of garlic, chopped and ½ tbsp fresh crushed black pepper. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
Take the breasts off the goose, trim the fat and refrigerate until needed.
With the giblets (heart, liver, neck meat, gizzard) and the meat left on the bones, trimmed of sinew and blitzed briefly in a food processor, add a pack-anda-half of sausage meat from your butcher and a coffee mug of fresh breadcrumbs.
Add a couple of cloves of garlic, three large banana shallots which have been softened in butter with a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme and a glass of red wine, reduced to a tablespoon. Form into a sausage shape and roll in cling film, knotting the ends tightly and poach in salted water for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until needed.
Wash the salt and aromatics off the legs and pat dry. Cover in goose fat in a casserole and place in an oven at 130 degrees C/gas 1 for 2-2½ hrs or until the meat is very soft. Cool and refrigerate until needed.
Mix two tablespoons of Hoisin sauce with juice of a lime, two teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, half a clove of grated garlic and the same amount of ginger. Whisk in a plain oil until a dressing consistency is reached.
For the first course - confit goose leg with scallops and Hoisin dressing Make a salad with cucumber, carrot, and spring onion cut into matchstick sizes. Take the goose leg out of the fat and reheat in a hot oven, 200 degrees C for 10/12 minutes or until heated through.
Shred the meat from the bones with two forks and keep warm under some foil. Taking two scallops per person, brown them in a mixture of butter and olive oil taking care not to overcook them. If you put twelve scallops in a pan, turn the first as soon as you have placed the 12th, keep turning them until all of them have both sides at the heat.
Place a small salad in the centre of your plate, add a squeeze of lime and season. Place a heaped tablespoon of goose confit on the top followed by two scallops. Dress with the Hoisin vinaigrette. water until the water runs clear of starch. Leave to dry on kitchen towel. Peel your quince and cut into four, core, and depending on size, cut in half again. Allow to slowly cook in melted butter until dark browny orange and just slightly al dente.
Chop a shallot with a sprig of thyme and a crushed clove of garlic and fry until golden, deglaze the pan with 100ml of medium sherry and allow to reduce by half. Add 200ml chicken stock and reduce by half, add a half tablespoon of membrillo (quince paste) or to taste and heat until the sauce is bubbling. Taste and season.
Add an egg white to the potato/ onion mix and mix in enough cornflour to make a sticky mix - adjust with egg or cornflour as needed.
Fry in hot oil until browned and crispy. Fry the goose sausage in another pan at the same time until browned on all sides. Slice the sausage and place on top of a rosti per plate, with a piece of quince on top of everything and drizzle over the sauce.
For the third course - roast goose breast Heat a heavy oven tray and lay the goose breast fat side down. Season the meat and cook for ten minutes. Turn them over and season again and cook for another 20 minutes for pink. Allow to rest for ten minutes before slicing thinly and serving with roast potatoes and vegetables of your choice. Chris does cookery classes and workshops from The Kitchen in Dartington. More details at chrissherville.com
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