By Scott Leysath
"So what's with all the garlic?" I've been asked that question a time or two because most of my recipes include garlic as a standard ingredient. It just so happens that I really like garlic and what it does for dark, dense game meats. Although I don't have any real data, my informal survey of food lovers leads me to believe that most people share my fondness for garlicky flavors.
Don't be alarmed by the amount of garlic used in this recipe. The garlic is mellowed out by roasting, which makes it soft, lightly browned, nutty, and sweet. This stuffing mixture—a blend of garlic, fresh herbs, cheese, and just enough breadcrumbs to hold everything together—also works well with duck, venison, and other game.
The serving size will depend on the type of goose you use. If the geese are small, add another breast fillet or two. Fillets from an average-size Canada goose will easily feed two adults. Remember that the first step to cooking any duck or goose is to soak it in brine for several hours. The meat will taste better after brining.
Preparation Time: 20–25 minutes
Cooking Time: about 16 minutes
- 15–20 whole, peeled garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium to large goose breast fillets
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup softened cream cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs (blend of parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I prefer Japanese panko breadcrumbs)
- Butcher string
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Toss the garlic cloves with olive oil in a shallow oven-safe pan or skillet. Place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes; flip the cloves over and cook for another 10 minutes. When done, garlic will be lightly browned and softened. If the garlic is burned, discard it and start over. Burned garlic is bitter.
- While the garlic is roasting, place the goose breast fillets on a flat surface and butterfly them one at a time. With the knife parallel to the cutting surface and midway through the thickness of the meat, slice each fillet from the thinnest side to the thickest. Do not slice all of the way through the fillet. The object is to butterfly the fillet so that it opens up like a book with the "hinge" at the thicker part of the meat. Next, lightly pound the meat with a mallet or heavy skillet so that it is of equal thickness throughout. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pan from the oven and the roasted garlic cloves from the pan, leaving the oil in the pan. Increase the oven heat to 400 degrees. Place the cloves in a bowl with cream cheese,
- Parmesan, herbs, lemon zest, and breadcrumbs. Stir to blend the mixture. Place fillets, cut side up, on a flat surface and spread the garlic mixture evenly over the meat. Roll up the meat, keeping the stuffing in place with your fingers while rolling. Secure each rolled fillet with butcher string.
- Place the stuffed fillets in the pan, and put the pan in the preheated oven. Roast for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip the fillets over and roast for 8 additional minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees for medium-rare.
- Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the fillets to a cutting surface. Let them rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing the string and slicing the meat into 1-inch-thick medallions.
Quick Pan Sauce While the cooked meat is resting, add 1/2 cup of dry red wine to the roasting pan. Place over a medium-hot burner and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup diced tomato (canned is okay), and a pinch each of Italian seasoning and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle sauce over stuffed goose medallions.