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Christmas 2012: What we ate January 6, 2013

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Game, Vegetables.
Tags: , ,

A slightly belated post about what we ate for Christmas in what is now considered last year! I had ordered a goose with the thought of doing a roast goose (very traditional, in an A Christmas Carol sort of way), but then an article by Mrs Wheelbarrow started me thinking about doing bits of goose instead.

I admit I didn’t follow the recipes suggested in the article, but instead decided to do a similar ‘beak to tail’ serving of goose for Christmas dinner. The day before, I made both apple and red currant jellies, and left them overnight to firm up in the fridge. Then the day of Christmas, once the important business of opening presents had been finished and a breakfast of smoked salmon and ham had been consumed, I got down to the job of breaking down the goose.

While I have broken down poultry before, I did follow Hank Shaw’s guide for breaking down game birds – I wanted the pieces to look nice for Christmas! I was quite happy with the job I did, which took about 20 minutes. I was left with the legs and breasts and a bunch of other meat, including the wings – and a pile of offcuts to render down for their fat.

I began by melting some existing duck fat and submerged the legs to confit them. I also put all the offcuts of meat and wings in a pot of water to simmer and cook the meat. I salted the breasts and vacuum packed them with pepper, sage and thyme in preparation for sous-videing them. I put the large pile of skin and fat pieces in a pot with some water to begin the fat rendering process. Then it was just a matter of waiting. Incidentally I felt like this was the calmest Christmas I’d had in the kitchen for quite a while – no mad running around or piling up of dishes!

When the meat offcuts were cooked, I shredded them finely and pounded them in my mortar and pestle while adding duck fat. Ta-daa! Goose rillettes. I added some parsley and sage and packed the rillettes into a serving dish. Now, I know it’s better to cover the rillettes with fat and leave them in the fridge at least overnight, but they were still very good to eat on the day. I served the rillettes as a starter along with some homemade Christmas ham, and the apple and red currant jellies.

Goose rillettes with Christmas ham, apple jelly and red currant jelly

I melted yet more duck fat (actually, the end of my supplies, but luckily I was replenishing them rapidly with the goose fat rendering on the stove) and, after parboiling some potatoes, added the potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onion to the duck fat, and left them in the oven to roast. At this time I also made a bitter salad of radicchio, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, capers and lots of lemon juice and vinegar. I figured we needed something to cut through the richness of the goose!

Next I set the goose breasts to cook sous-vide for about 40 minutes at 60ºC, and took the legs out of the confit. I finished both the legs and the breasts by searing them in a frying pan – in the case of the legs, this made them go super crispy on the outside.

Christmas 2012: Sous vide goose breast, confit goose leg, vegetables roasted in duck fat, radicchio salad

So to summarise, from one goose I got:

  • Rillettes
  • Sous vide goose breasts
  • Confit goose legs
  • A giant jar of goose fat
  • Delicious and rich goose stock, which I made from the offcuts of vegetables and the goose bones once the dinner was over

I really do like the taste of goose, and it was great to experience so many variations on that flavour in the same meal. While it’s probably not as impressive as presenting a roast goose to the table, it was much more interesting and I was very happy to be able to use the whole goose up so well.


1. cathy barrow - January 7, 2013

Gorgeous! So glad to have been an inspiration!

inspiredbywolfe - January 7, 2013

Thanks! Your article came just at the right time to prompt me to think beyond the roast. The timing was perfect!

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