Alan Charles’ Outdoor Moments: How to cook your goose

Alan Charles
Friday, March 8, 2019
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PHOTO/Alan Charles
Alan Charles’ dog Teal retrieves a goose, which makes a tasty meal if properly prepared.

Star Outdoors Columnist

Since I wrote a column several weeks ago about hunting wild geese, I have had numerous people ask me, “What do you do with all those geese, since they are no good to eat.” So, I committed to sharing some ideas about how wild goose meat can be converted into some of the best-tasting, nutritious and flat-out excellent meals.

Given space limitations of this column, I cannot provide complete recipes. But a casual query to Google will produce an amazing array of detailed recipes, and most wild game cookbooks will have at least a few good goose recipes. To be honest, preparing good goose is very basic and simple. Admittedly, preparing bad goose is also very basic and simple.

A typical Canada goose harvested in this area weighs about 12 pounds. By law the breast, legs and thighs must, at a minimum, be retained by a hunter. Many hunters cut out the two breast fillets, which yield about three pounds of lean meat, and separately cut off the legs and thighs, which have meat with good fat deposits and a completely different texture and taste.

The most common way to ruin goose meat is to cook it too long, rendering a tough, dry, liver-tasting mess. If, instead, the goose breast meat is cooked quickly and served medium-rare, or in the alternative, cooked slowly with moisture either in a slow cooker or one of the new electric pressure cookers, it will typically be tender, moist and very flavorful.

Goose meat lends itself well to some specialty preparations. One I highly recommend, especially for this month’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, is corned goose, made by covering the breast fillets in either a brine or dry mix of canning salt, sugar and spices, and then curing the meat in the refrigerator for about a week. The corned goose is then cooked similar to corned beef. Numerous recipes are available online. Retired Miles City Star publisher Dan Killoy has a great one.

Simple crockpot or pressure cooker recipes typically utilize some sort of soup, (I use a lot of Lipton’s onion soup), but also popular are mushroom soup, cream of celery, and cream of chicken, along with a preferred mix of chopped vegetables, potatoes, rice or noodles. Goose breast fillets cooked like this resemble a beef pot roast, and can be served just like one, or the meat can be pulled like pulled pork, mixed with barbecue sauce, and served as a sandwich, or converted into goose tacos.

Another way to prepare goose breast for tacos or stir fry is to slice the fillets into thin strips, marinate them in a mix of citrus juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and spices, gently pound the meat to tenderize it, slice it or dice it, and fry the meat quickly.

Goose legs and thighs yield a very tasty and tender kind of meat. I like to simmer them in water seasoned with a couple cubes of chicken bouillon and a pat of butter for three to four hours. The meat can then be easily stripped from the bone, and if we want to make goose noodle soup, we put the meat back into the stock and add homemade egg noodles. That same simmered thigh meat can be stripped from the bone and, with some stock, added to any rice or pasta dish, or it can frozen in vacuum-packed bags for future use as a quick meaty addition to any meal.

Goose meat can be used to make excellent summer sausage and salami, typically being mixed with lean pork and prepared using one of the many available commercial recipes. That lean goose breast meat can also produce some excellent jerky. Just be sure to remove all pellets.

I could go on… Goose breast and shrimp kabobs glazed with huckleberry jelly, quickly grilled by the lake at sunset, accompanied by a glass of good Cabernet, listening to Canada geese flying to the roost, the dog curled up by the campfire. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

( Alan Charles lives and writes in the Pine Hills.)