by Scott Leysath
A hearty stew loaded with tender, slow-cooked goose, white beans, and lots of flavor is just the thing to take the chill off a long day of waterfowl hunting. Stews are great for a number of reasons. Best of all, they are very forgiving compared to more complicated preparations that may require more attention to detail in the kitchen. Brown the meat in a big pot, top it with vegetables and enough liquid to keep everything covered, and then simmer for several hours until the meat is tender. Then it's stew time.
Stews are thick main dishes that, by definition, are usually "chunkier" than soups. The liquid in stews is more like gravy than broth. Yes, there are exceptions, and everyone can think of a thick soup or two. But when you're talking about a stew, you know it's thick, not thin. Stew ingredients are typically rough-chopped into large pieces, not the perfectly diced symmetrical pieces of carrot, celery, and onion you might find in a soup. Again, cooking a stew requires less time in the kitchen, which means more time in the field harvesting what will hopefully become part of the next batch of waterfowl stew.
If you have an extra day to plan this dish, you can improve the flavor of the cooked goose breast fillets by soaking them in a brine made from ½ gallon water and ½ cup kosher salt. This infuses the meat with a mildly salty solution and helps remove the goose blood. Refrigerate the meat in the brine for 8 to 12 hours, rinse, pat thoroughly dry, and proceed with the recipe.
Goose and White Bean Stew
Brining Time (optional): 8-12 hours
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ cups cooked ham, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups skinless goose breast fillets
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (seeds may be intact or removed before slicing)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomato, with liquid
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups cooked white beans
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the ham and cook for two to three minutes. Add the goose and cook, stirring often, until evenly browned. Then add the chopped onion and the next five ingredients. Cook for five minutes or until the onions are translucent.
2. Next, add the chicken broth and diced tomato. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking until the meat is tender.
3. When the goose meat breaks apart easily, stir in the white beans, pepper, and salt to taste. Cook to warm the beans and then serve.
Cooking Tip: Tender Quicker
Whether your goose stew is slowly simmered for fall-apart tenderness or cooked quickly for a one-pot warm-up that's ready in an hour, a little elbow grease will help make your goose tender. Cut skinless breast fillets into 1- to 2-inch pieces and place on a cutting board. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet, lightly pound the chunks of goose meat until they double in width. This breaks down muscle fibers, and no matter how the meat is cooked, it will be more tender than if you had simply added it to the stew pot.