Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas Goose and Goose Stock

So, I know this is a little delayed, but here's my little Christmas story this year. Right before the holidays, my mom decided that she was going to take on 'the project of pictures' - you know, the one that lives in the realm before digital cameras - where you just have boxes and boxes of pictures that never made into albums - well, this was found:

That's my brother (dork!), my mother, and my Aunt Gloria holding my cousin Christopher (you can only see one foot and hand) - sitting around the dinner table about 18 years ago on Christmas - with a goose. This great find naturally made me realize what we were going to have for Christmas this year - a goose - and thus, me making a goose for Christmas was born. Grandma bought me an apron for the occasion:

I searched around for some recipes, and found a fairly easy one and, as per usual, cross referenced it with my all time favorite book - my kitchen bible - Mark Bittmans "How to Cook Everything". Here was the resulting recipe:

Christmas Goose

1 10lb goose
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground sage

About 3 hours.

- Preheat oven to 350. 

- Remove giblets and neck from goose. Rince goose with cold running water, drain well. Place goose breast side up, lift wings toward neck and fold them under the back of the goose. Tie the legs together with string

- Place goose, breast side down, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Prick the goose in several places to drain fat during roasting using a skewer or a sharp fork. Rub goose with salt, pepper and ground sage.

- Put the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Prick the goose skin again and roast for another 20 minutes - the goose should be beginning to brown. Turn the goose breast side up, and baste with the juices from the pan (the goose will release about a quart of fat and juices while cooking - which you can keep for frying other foods if you'd like). Roast the goose for another hour - you should prick the skin and baste 2 or 3 more times.

- If the goose isn't already too browned, raise the temperature to 400 and continue to roast for another 30 minutes. At this point the bird will be done if a meat thermometer reads 165. If the bird is too brown, and needs to continue cooking, you can cover the goose loosely with foil. Another indicator that the bird is done is if the juices run clear, and the leg bone wiggles a little in the socket. 

- When done, let the goose rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

Thank you Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook and Mark Bittman.

Carving the bird was not easy, dad really struggled - but it was worth it. A goose has nothing but all delicious dark meat. Even though the goose releases quite a lot of fat, the meat itself is very lean. We got our goose at Wholey's in the Strip District. Doesn't serve many, 6-8 people, but it was a nice addition to the ham, stuffed cabbage and other great dishes that were served for the holiday - including my grandmothers famous potato salad - recipe I must get...

So anyway, here we are:

Mother and brother (still a dork) replicating a photo from 18 years ago...

Since we had a leftover goose carcass, I decided to freeze it and make a stock out of it, made it just as I would a chicken stock:

Goose Stock

1 goose carcass
1 onion - cut in half, leaving skin on
1-2 carrots - cut in 2-3 in pieces
1-2 celery stalks - cut in 2-3 in pieces
1 bulb of garlic 
few springs of parsley
1-2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
water to cover

If you don't have all the veggies to make the stock, just use what you have!

2.5-3 hours

- In a large stock pot - place goose carcass in large stock pot with all ingredients, cover with cold water

- Bring to a boil. Skim off any fat from the top (I really didn't get any), and then lower heat to simmer, partially covering pot. 

- Simmer for as long as you can, at least an hour, I left mine simmering for about 2.5 hours.

- Place a cheesecloth over a colander and strain the stock into a large bowl  - pressing on the vegetables to get any juices that have accumulated within them for extra flavoring

- Cool. If it's cold enough outside, you can place the bowl, partially covered outside to cool quickly, or if you have room in your freezer to cool uncovered. I put mine in the refrigerator overnight partially covered. Once it is cool, any fat will have solidified at the top. Use a spoon and/or paper towel to scrape the fat from the liquid.

- If you have the space and the containers, you can store the stock in the fridge for no more than a week, or the freezer for up to 6 months. Make sure to bring the stock to a boil before using it again. You can also reduce the stock by boiling it down, and either putting it in smaller containers, or if you have an ice cube tray you can boil it down to the size of an ice cube tray and freeze it that way, then place the frozen stock cubes in a plastic freezer bag to store. Simply add about a cup of water to the cube and bring to a boil when you want to use it. 

So that's it. That's my Christmas story this year - goose stock and all. 

Merry Christmas (a little late!).

xo, cheers, namaste,


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