Pan roasted breast of Cool Springs Ranch free range goose, confit of leg

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There’s so much to discuss about the humble goose Where to start? well in the food world one of the most coveted products you can have in your fridge is goose fat.
The fat is rendered through heat and saved to do such wonderful things as roasting potatoes and making a classic French dish of “Confit”
The reason the fat is so prized is its ability to impart flavour and aiding in crispiness especially of the humble potato, try this quick roast potato version;

Pre-heat the oven to 400f, Par-boil russet potatoes for 8-10 minutes; drain very well and then put back into the pot, shaking to roughen the edges(this will give you LOTS of surface area which in turn =crispy). Roughly 1 tablespoon of Goose Fat for every 450g potatoes into a roasting tray and heat until the fat is smoking.
Place the potatoes in the tray and season with seas salt and fresh black pepper, roast for 45 minutes, or until crisp and golden, basting and turning frequently.

Look at that already one stunningly simple recipe only two paragraphs in and we haven’t even cooked the meat!!

Lets look at the legs and the breasts, it is pointless trying to roast a whole bird unless you’re resigned to not actually eating the leg meat and eating overcooked breast meat, the legs being the pistons of the bird are tough and so require a much more gentle slow approach to cooking AKA Confit, Confit was originally a way to not only impart flavour but more importantly to preserve the meat, in the time before the fridge and easy supplies of ice, people had to be very inventive when it came to food and immersing cooked meat in fat was a perfect way to prevent air reaching the meat causing spoilage. Nowadays Chefs use this technique mainly for flavour and to achieve tenderness of game birds such as goose.
This exactly my plan for the legs on this goose, so after removing the legs keeping as much of the skin on as possible I took fresh rosemary, chopped garlic, fresh orange zest and kosher salt (in England we also use dried juniper berries but I didn’t have any) I rubbed the leg all over with the mix and allowed it to sit overnight to draw out as much water as possible, the reasoning behind this is again the less moisture in the meat the better preserved it will be and the more authentic the “eat”
The next day the salt mixture is wiped off and the legs patted dry and into a bath of melted goose fat…what you don’t have any goose fat yet? easy start your fat collection by covering the legs in canola oil and during the cooking process the goose fat will render into the oil, then for your next confit use the same fat and repeat, the more times you do this the more concentrated your goose fat becomes.
The other thing I like to do is to slow roast the carcass to render off the fat but this usually will result in a small amount of fat but nevertheless add this to your fat collection.
Place the fat and legs in a casserole dish with a lid and into a preheated oven 210f for about 3 hours or until the meat is very tender, I test this with a pairing knife pushing through the thickest part. You can cook this even longer it just really depends on what your intentions are with the final product, I want my leg to stay in its shape so 3 hours should suffice.
once cooked I remove mine from the oil as I have the next stage to perform but you can just transfer to a sterile mason jar cover with oil and allow to cool this way then refrigerate.
So you have a lovely tender goose leg now what? well you need to crisp the skin, so turn the oven up to 400f and pop it on a tray and “roast” until the skin is as crisp as you like, you can broil it but it generally ends up without a uniform colour and I prefer the “golden” look to mine.
Depending on the size of the leg you can flake it into pieces, this goose is going to provide enough meat for 4-6 people which is great for a small get together.
Now to the breast meat, the chest on the goose is flat unlike a chicken which is a “V” shape so you have to adjust your knife angle accordingly.
Once removed I would recommend marinating the breasts in enough red wine to cover the meat, 1 carrot roughly chopped, 1/2 an onion roughly chopped, 1/2 head garlic and 4 sprigs of thyme and leave in this mix for 5-7 days, this will tenderize and enhance the flavour of the meat.
To cook the breasts remove from the marinade and pat completely dry with paper towel, place an oven proof frying pan/skillet on a medium high heat and add a little oil then season the meat with salt and pepper and sear all over.
Place skin side down and add 3-4 tablespoons of butter and place into a preheated oven 375f.
Cook for 20-30 minutes depending how pink you like the meat turning and basting through the cooking time, once cooked remove from the pan and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting, its very important to rest the meat allowing it to relax then slice across the grain.
while the breasts are roasting you can remove the legs from the fat place in an oven proof dish and heat/crisp through in the oven at the same time.
This is part of the benefit of having the confit made ahead of time as you only have to make half the dish!
I served my goose with some wilted spinach, roast butternut squash, gratin dauphinoise and some homemade griottines which are brandy marinated Summer cherries.
This goose definitely has a “wild” flavour to it which I’m assuming is to do with the birds being free range and having a varied diet.
So if you’re fed up with the same old Turkey dinner give a goose a good home for Christmas!

You can find geese as well as lots of other meats including turkey and beef at http://www.coolspringsranch.ca/

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

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