By Scott Leysath
Imagine a perfectly browned goose nestled on a serving platter and flanked by a colorful assortment of roasted potatoes and other vegetables. A bottle of wine, a pair of candles, and a decorative centerpiece complete the table setting. The fireplace is lit, and a Lab is curled up on the carpet, basking in the warmth of the glowing embers. Now, let's just hope the main dish came from the marsh and not the market.
Domestic geese are fat, really fat. Five ounces of cooked farm-raised goose will set you back more than 400 calories and 30 grams of fat—and that's without any sauce, butter, bread, mashed potatoes, or wine. On the other hand, wild geese are lean, and a similar five-ounce portion has about a third of the calories and only six grams of fat.
Stuffing a wild goose with fruits and vegetables and roasting it may provide a picture-perfect presentation, but there's a better way to stuff a goose that looks and tastes great. Start by butterflying the breast fillets and then lightly pounding them until they are of an even thickness. Don't wail on them like a blacksmith; just give them a few firm pats with a meat mallet or the flat side of a heavy skillet. Once the goose breasts are prepared, they are ready for seasoning and stuffing. After cooking the stuffed breast fillets to your desired doneness, let them rest for a few minutes before slicing each one into two or three medallions. Arrange these around a steamy mound of garlic mashed potatoes, take a photograph, and serve.
Goose Breasts with Sage Cornbread Stuffing
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: less than 15 minutes
- 4 average-size skinless goose breast fillets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced (or substitute 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves)
- 1 cup dry cornbread stuffing (or any dry cubed stuffing)
- 1/2 cup warm chicken broth
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- dash Tabasco sauce
1. Place the goose breast fillets on a firm surface and, using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice through the meat lengthwise, but not all the way through. Leave a "hinge" at the end so that the fillet is still intact, and press it open with the hinge in the middle. Cover the fillet with a heavy plastic food-storage bag and lightly pound until the meat is about 1/4-inch thick throughout. Then rub the fillets with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and then sauté for 3 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients. Toss ingredients well and allow to cool.
3. With the fillets on a flat surface, place an equal amount of the stuffing mixture inside each one. While holding in the corners, roll each stuffed fillet tightly like a burrito.
4. Place the fillets seam side down and about 1/4 inch apart in a lightly greased baking dish, and roast in a preheated 400-degree oven until browned on the top, about 10 minutes for medium rare. Remove when cooked to your liking, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
TIP: Always Label Frozen Game
Package game meat carefully, preferably with a vacuum packaging unit, and clearly label and date each package with a permanent marker. Game tastes best when it is cooked within a year of freezing. So if you have a package of wild goose that keeps getting moved farther back into the dark recesses of your freezer, it might be time to thaw it out and give this featured recipe a try.