Old Fashioned Braised Goose

T got his copper bullets delivered yesterday, but has yet to go hunting. He hasn't even done any target practice since he got his rifle sighted, so I do wonder if he'll actually get around to bagging a deer while they still have a little meat on their bones from summer.

Nevertheless, I start cooking game tomorrow. His buddy Jackson shot several geese earlier this week. While they cooked several last night and had a tasting that T attended, there was still one goose remaining, and when T suggested that I would like to cook it, it was delivered to me tonight.

I didn't examine it closely, but it is a bit unusual in a few respects. First, it was the only goose of the bunch that Jackson skinned in the field instead of plucked. So that seems to me to pretty much rule out roasting, since without the skin to protect the flesh, it would get tough and dry instead of juicy and delicious. Second, it looks like the head and neck have been neither plucked nor skinned. Although the bird seems to have been gutted, so I might not get the liver. Which is too bad, since I have a recipe for stuffed goose neck that calls for goose liver to be used in the stuffing. I'll take a photo of the bird before I start to cook it. Maybe I'll even make a cooking video for hunters.

When I went to cooking school, we only touched upon game cooking techniques in class, although I have a little more information about it in the written materials. One useful bit of information is how to figure the age of a goose at death by feeling whether its windpipe is flexible or hard (flexible= a young goose < 6 months old, suitable for roasting; hard= an older goose, suitable for braising). I'll see if I can feel anything useful about the windpipe when I take it out to cook it tomorrow, but I suspect it would have been easier to determine this in the field, or more shortly after slaughter.

I was also tipped off by one of the men who cooked a goose last night that these geese are quite lean. He didn't know if it was due to the variety of goose or where it was in its life-cycle or migratory pattern. Regardless, that's another strike against roasting.

So I'll braise the bird. I have an old cookbook (recommended by my cooking instructor, I found it at some antiquarian book dealer when I was living in NYC) which is pretty comprehensive in covering all the techniques for cooking many different kinds of poultry and also includes recipes. I found a recipe called "Old Fashioned Braised Goose" that if I read the fine print correctly, came from the 1800s, so if it was old fashioned back then, it must be quite an old recipe indeed. It even calls for some kind of fortified liquor that doesn't even exist anymore, so I guess I'll leave that out. . .

The braising liquid is primarily white wine and tomatoes, with some herbs and vegetables, and the goose is to be cooked slowly at low heat for about five hours. So I'll start cooking in the morning, I guess. I've got to go to the grocery store and get a suitable wine first, though. I just checked my wine rack and the only bottle of white I have is a quite good one that I'm not interested in boiling down with the goose.

So we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I'm kind of psyched to try something new. This goose should be quite different from the farmed ones available in the grocery store, so I'm curious to give it a try. If we like it, T might buy a shotgun. . .