It was 3:36 pm when I got the call — my uncle, a duck hunter, had bagged a wild goose and they don’t care much for goose meat. Did we want a goose breast?
Neither of us have ever cooked, much less eaten, goose. But we love duck breast, so we figured it couldn’t be that different, right? So we did take that goose breast. And we learned several things:
1) Geese have HUGE breasts. Like DDD Playgoose-sized breasts.
2) Cooking goose is much different from cooking duck.
3) Taking a goose breast off the bone and cleaning it is profoundly gross.
But we did it and, if you happen to have some wild goose on hand, here’s how you can do it too.
First we did some research and found that a slow cooking method is best for goose. We decided on sous vide (vacuum sealing the breast in marinade then cooking it in a warm water bath) because it’s a low and slow way to tenderize meat and infuse flavor. But also because we have a sous vide machine that needs to get more use. (ahem, husband…) Then I consulted with Jamie Carlson of You Have to Cook it Right. He gave the thumbs up to sous vide and recommended a marinade of equal parts maple syrup and soy sauce with a little crushed hot pepper. Armed with new goose knowledge, we were off and running.
My uncle had taken the skin off the goose breast because he said it made it taste really gamey and not in a good way. With a really sharp carving knife, I cut the GIANT goose breasts off the bone and was left with two of these:
You can see the thin, but tough, silver membrane that covers the breast. You CANNOT see (and be thankful you can’t) the wet feather things that were left in the goose “arm pits” or the wiry black feathers that made the breast look like a sparse, but hairy chest. The membrane was attached very well so I kind of did a hack job trying to get it off.
Because the goose breast is so large, we made one to split between us.
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 TB Aleppo pepper
1 TB Chinese five spice powder
Add the marinade to the plastic sous vide bag, put the trimmed goose breast in and seal the bag using the vacuum sealer. Heat the water in the sous vide machine to 130 degrees F and cook the goose breast sous vide for 6 to 8 hours.
To accompany our goose breast, we made soba noodles with roasted baby bok choy.
Roasted Baby Bok Choy
Two heads of baby bok choy
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
Heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 400 degrees F. Pull apart the baby bok choy, clean and lay out each individual leaf on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil.
Roast until golden brown. Cut into strips, the leaves will be crispy.
1 1/2 bundles of soba noodles
2 TB hoisin sauce
1 TB ponzu
1 1/2 TB sesame oil
1 TB sesame seeds
Cook the soba noodles in boiling water until tender. Mix sauce and toss noodles in sauce, distributing evenly. Mix in the roasted baby bok choy and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
To finish the goose breast, we sautéed it in 1 TB duck fat until it browned, about 2 minutes per side. Slice, place on the soba noodles and serve.
It was interesting — good, not great. The goose looked a lot like flank steak or roast beef, but it wasn’t as tender as we thought it would be. There was a distinct five spice flavor that was nice and the goose breast seemed well cooked, but it was a bit tough. The soba noodles were a little bit spicy with a nice roasted sesame flavor. The baby bok choy added just the right amount of bitter and slight char.
Would we make this again? We have another goose breast, so we’ll make that again. Given its similarity to thickly muscled beef, we’re thinking of using the crock pot (slow cooker) to do a slow braised goose breast. What should we braise it in, thoughts?!?
There you have it. And I got through the entire post without using the phrase, “Our goose is cooked.” HA!