by John Manikowski
Wild Canada geese have little or no fat, as do most wild birds. Because of this lack of natural basting liquid, some wild fowl tends to dry out while cooking. I recall a game dinner with several hunter-friends, a frequent affair during the fall hunting season. I arrived at the house with a goose in a roasting pan, prepped and ready to pop into the oven. We started with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, having a grand time but proceeded to forget about the cooking time of the lean bird. When I remembered to check on its progress, it was already too late. It was mostly dried out. This recipe will help assure the cook of no accidents and help keep the meat moist and tender.
In this recipe you are essentially poaching the bird, i.e. roasting it upside-down in liquid with finely chopped vegetables. Wild goose is naturally very dark, nearly indistinguishable from roast beef after it is sliced.
You may want to add potatoes, onions and firm vegetables to the roasting pan about 45 minutes before the bird is finished. They will not only add flavor to the sauce and the bird but will save you time by allowing the entire meal to finish together.
You may substitute wild turkey, also a lean bird, in place of wild goose.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, celery, onions, apple and garlic. Sauté for 8-10 minutes. Add the stock, wine, parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil for about 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 6-8 minutes.
Pour the vegetables and liquid into a large roasting pan fitted with a lid. Turn the bird breast-side down and nestle into the vegetables and liquid. Spoon some of the liquid and vegetables over the goose and add more water (or wine if you like) to submerse the bird half-way. Cover and roast about 1 1/4 hours. Turn the bird over, facing up, and cook another 15 minutes, uncovered or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F when inserted next to the leg bone.
Remove and let the bird sit for about 10 minutes before carving. Spoon some of the juice and vegetables over each portion of sliced meat and potatoes.
The dark and heavy nature of wild goose meat needs to be enjoyed with a solid, bold, red. A syrah drinks beautifully with this meal, perhaps the Qupé vineyard from the central California coast. This wine is produced and bottled by Robert Lindquist; a reasonably priced wine and a good value.
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