I recently had a homesteader craving. I have wanted to farm my own animals for a while now. But until I have my land, I’ll have to settle for finding people on Craigslist who have animals instead. I found me a goose, a snow goose to be exact.
That’s a snow goose. The one I got didn’t have those black tipped wings, but the owner said they were indeed snow geese. So I watched innocently as she rounded one up in a net. I then held it by it’s feet and wings so it couldn’t move around and hurt itself. Then came the real nitty gritty farmer part. She slit it’s carotid artery so it would bleed out quickly but not unethically, like letting it run around headless. That, by the way, is possible and weird. So I just held it and watched it look at me, unknowing that his life was soon to be over. He didn’t make a sound or thrash around in pain, so I felt good about a peaceful ethical slaughter.
While it looks neat and processed, that took a lot of labor! I hand plucked most of the feathers and down for a little feather project. I then used a tip I picked up from Hank Shaw at Hunger Angler Gardener Cook and dipped it in hot water with melted paraffin. This wax clung to what little down was left and made it easy to peel away the wax shell, which brought the feathers along with it. Regardless, it still took me like 2 hours to pluck and gut the damned thing. That’s partially because I was trying to save as many feathers as possible.
This guy had lots of extra fat, like any domestic goose. When you are graced with goose fat, render it. It’s the process of slowly cooking it with a bit of water to leech the liquid fat out of the tissue. Goose fat is liquid gold, literally. I save bacon and duck fat in jars on my counter. Now I can add the beautiful goose fat.
The first night, I wanted to roast it. I don’t know why, but the thought of a delicious roast goose is the reason I tracked one down in the first place. I roasted it on 300F to hopefully crisp the skin up.
I made a burgundy portobello sauce to go with it and it was great. Even though it was perfectly cooked at medium rare, the meat was shockingly tough. Maybe goose is tough and I’m not aware of that. But a medium rare duck breast is succulent. Maybe it was older than ideal for roasting. Either way, the meat was tasty and I had to think of another way to enjoy it.
Stew! I had a carcass, leftover meat, and taste buds. Simmer some water for a few hours, make yourself some great goose stock, and make a soup or stew with it.
I made a mushroom barley stew, also inspired from Hank. However, I don’t have the luxury of foraging for fresh mushrooms in Northern California (agh, envy). I used dried shiitake since that would add some complexity to my stock as well.
It was great both ways. I encourage anyone who’s serious about food to go to the source. You will truly appreciate the ingredients for what they are. Another great benefit is you know where it comes from and you reconnect with your inner caveman.
Preheat oven to 300 F. Prick the skin with a sharp knife, being careful not to damage the meat. Slice the lemon in half and rub the juice over the skin. Toss the lemon in the body cavity. Rub the skin down with salt and pepper well. Roast for 45 minutes, then increase to 400 F for another 10 minutes.
Time will vary based on fattiness. You want the meat (i used a probe in the thigh) to register at 135 F. After you remove it from the oven, the temp will rise up to 140 F, which is medium.
Rest 20 minutes before slicing.
Goose and Barley Stew
3 T goose fat
1 onion, diced
3 dried Shiitake mushrooms in 1 c boiling water
7 cups stock
2 t dried Marjoram
1 cup dried pearled barley
2 yukon potatoes
Soak the mushrooms for 10 minutes in the water. Slice the mushrooms after. In a dutch oven over medium high, heat the fat. Add the onion and mushrooms (not the mushroom stock). Add the marjoram and leftover meat from simmering the carcass, or leftover meat from the roast. Add the barley, carrots, potatoes, and cover with stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes, uncovered. The barley will thicken up the stew a bit.
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