Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The 3 Bird Orgy, Part IV [Goose Duck Goose]

And today was the day of the dinner party!

This morning, Dad took me to Box Hill to get all the last ingredients I would need – easy stuff, like red cabbage, onions, etc. One thing I realized might be difficult to obtain was a goose gizzard. I doubted the Box Hill butchers would have any goose gizzards, but I figured that one from a duck or chicken would suffice. So we went to the poultry shops in the Box Hill Market, asking for gizzard. We got the same response from everyone. “Gizzard, what’s a gizzard? You mean giblet! We got giblet, you want giblet?” Er, no.

So once we’d done all the other shopping, we headed to Belmore Butchers (which is kinda like Rendinas in terms of quality, but a 20 minute walk from our house, instead of a 5 minute walk).

Butcher: Hi there love, how are you?
Me: Good thanks, how are you?
Butcher: I’m well, thank-you! How can I help you?
Me: Hi, have you got any gizzards?
Butcher: Sorry love, we don’t keep giblets.
Me: Wait, are gizzards and giblets the same thing?
Butcher: Yes they are.

BLOODY HELL. Dad very kindly drove us back to Box Hill, where I sheepishly bought some duck gizzards and then went home to start on the cooking.

211. Christmas Eve Goose (Basics etc.)
212. Red Cabbage Cooked in the Viennese Fashion (Weekend Lunch)


In addition to the giblets, you also need the goose neck for the recipe, which, I discovered, had been cut off by the butcher and stored within the cavity. Sweet as!


There's the neck. Not a disturbing sight at all.

Before you start anything else, you need to remove the fat from around the goose’s cavity, and render it down.


goosefat

The goose needs to be started early. Remember, this is the “holy shit! A fan is involved” goose. The whole fan fandango (har har) is supposed to make the goose’s skin crisp, much like the poaching-then-roasting technique makes the duck soft and crisp. I wonder if you could poach the goose. It certainly would make life easier.

For this recipe, you prick the skin all over with a knife, then pour boiled water over the skin. Nigella suggests doing this over a roasting tray, and then draining the tray, but I just did it in the sink, on a rack. Much easier.


goose in sink

It’s so cool when you pour the water on the skin – it contracts and stretches over the meat.

It wasn’t too much trouble using the fan; it is summer after all (sorry to my friends in the northern hemisphere), we had our free-standing fan already out in the lounge room. I just moved it to the kitchen and aimed it at the goose.


fan

It was about 3:30pm when I realized the goose wasn’t drying fast enough for my liking, so I turned on the airconditioner as well. (Plus, I was getting hot standing at the stove).


with airconditioning

While the goose is drying, you can do the stuffing. You cook some normal onion in the rendered goosefat (yeah baby, yeah), add garlic and lemon zest, and then stir that into 1.4 kilos of potatoes, which have been boiled and mashed.


mashed potato stuffing

Then you pack it into the capacious cavity and it’s ready for the oven. There was a decent amount of stuffing left over, so I put that into a loaf tin, and baked it with the duck later on.


Stuffing

I’m no expert on food hygiene, but I’m pretty sure that once the hot stuffing goes into the raw goose, it has to be cooked immediately. And you know, for all my worrying about how small my goose was, I’m glad I only got a 3 kg gosling – it just fit in my oven!


in oven

Ok, so in the meantime, I made the cabbage. It is suggested as an accompaniment to pork, but would also be perfect with goose. The cabbage is finely shredded, and then cooked in oil with dark muscovado sugar, some Spanish onion, a cooking apple and some vinegar. Then you add some beef stock, and cook it slowly (either on stovetop or in oven – I used the stove) for 2 hours.


sliced cabbage


in pot

It seems like a hell of a lot of cabbage at first, but it does collapse and soften. After the two hours cooking are up, you slowly stir in a mixture of crème fraiche (woohoo! I got to finish off my half-used tub!) and flour, and let it cook for a minute or two. Then you can forget about it, and just reheat it when you want it.

Next was the gravy for the goose. Brown some bacon in more goosefat, then add the giblets and chopped neck, and brown those, followed by onion and carrot. Then you add some chicken stock, and let it simmer for 30 minutes, before straining it and thickening it with cornflour. Once this is all done, you can just leave it in the pot, off the heat, with the lid on to keep it warm.


unstrained gravy

I put the duck in the oven while the goose was resting, covered in foil.

Check out the goose – during cooking, the stuffing expands (or the goose shrinks) and comes out of the cavity.


"I have stuffing coming out the wazoo"

Now, between the consommé, the duck, the goose, the gravy and the cabbage, I'd made a right fucking mess in the kitchen, and used almost every single utensil we own. Normally we eat in the kitchen, but looking at the mess in there, I knew there was no way it was going to happen tonight. We ate dinner in the dining room.


mess

I heated up the consommé when Uncle Mike and Aunty Helen arrived. But looking into the pot, I was suddenly a bit worried about serving it. It looked so boring! I mean, I know that the point of consommé is to have a clear and tasty soup, but still... and I'd never eaten proper consommé before, so I had no idea what it was supposed to be like. I tasted some, then made my mum, my dad, and my brother taste it in turn. We all had the same reaction - "Er... it's ok, but it's boring. You want us to eat a whole bowl of that?" I was almost considering going straight to the goose, and skipping the soup entirely. But then I got Uncle Mike to taste some, and he said, "Yes, that tastes right". And my fears were allayed. We scooped it out into small bowls and started eating.


consommé

It was, surprisingly, really good! Even Mum and Dad enjoyed it. I think it was fine once we knew what to expect. It was heaps stronger than the Italian broth, but as a soup to be eaten plain, it had a lovely delicate flavour. The small bowls we had were perfect for a light starter before the big meal.


dinner

We tried to carve the goose at the table, but it turned out to be more difficult than we'd hoped.


Mum & Aunty Helen carving

So, Mum & I took the goose into the kitchen, and hacked away at it on a board, in a very uncivilised manner. It was really messy, but it was worth it.


Me - and that's the Dangerfield dress. Same price as a 3-kg gosling.


carnage


messy goose


Potato stuffing - the stuffing that had been cooked inside the goose tasted heaps better than the stuffing that had been cooked separately.

We started off by just eating the goose. And by the time we'd gotten through the goose, we were full!!! I didn't need a second bird after all! Bloody Nigella portioning. But seeing as I'd gone to the trouble of making the duck, we tried some anyway.


Soft & Crispy Duck


my plate

That cabbage was just unbelievably good. It looked like a big pile of sweet purple jammy crap in the pan, but it tasted fantastic. It wasn't overly sweet, overly sharp, too mushy or anything like that - it was just perfect. I seriously could have eaten a bowl of it by itself for dinner. (And I might do that tomorrow night with the leftovers).

Now, about the goose. I'd never had goose before, and didn't know quite what to expect. But I loved it! It wasn't tough at all; it was moist and tender, and the fabulous skin was crisp. And the stuffing was wonderful too - all that goosefat and goose juice seeping through the potato. Like, DROOL! It's such a great celebratory dish!

The duck was, as you might have guessed, both soft and crispy. I love a good roast duck, and this one was so easy to make! I highly recommend it for anytime you're entertaining.

On Nigella's suggestion, I didn't make a separate pudding, but just had some fruit and nuts on the table to share. I had cherries on ice, and some whole nuts, which we cracked at the table. I also put a bowl of gooseberries on the table. I hadn't planned to serve them, but I'd found a punnet at Coles in the morning, and never having seen them in Australia before, knew I just had to buy them instantly. (Also, there's a gooseberry recipe in How to Eat somewhere). I'd left them on the kitchen counter, and when Uncle Mike came in, he exclaimed, "Gooseberries! I haven't had them since I was a lad!" So we added them to the table.


dessert


Gooseberries

This was just the right ending to the meal - satisfying, but not too heavy. And the social aspect of cracking the nuts at the table was great. Dad also opened a packet of Lindt chocolate-covered hazelnuts, which went down very, very well. After the meal, we just sat around the table, drinking wine, chatting, and picking at the bits and pieces.

Ooh and check this out - it's Uncle Mike and Aunty Helen's Christmas gift for me. They gave it to me tonight after dinner. It's a gorgeous little amethyst bracelet. How fab is it?!

6 comments:

domesticgoddess said...

awesome stuff. what a feast to pull off! love the photo of the two birds on the table, v cerimonious. that stuffing looks like it would taste divine, and that cabbage, mmm.... uncle mike & aunty helen have hit gold with this project of yours, haha! lucky them.

oh, and love the bracelet. amethyst is supposed to heighten intelligence, but seeing as you've just produced a fabulously-written post at 4am, you need no such improvements.

p.s. having no more money to buy the goose i was intending to cook this week, i am a) living this vicariously through you and b) extremely jealous. haha.

well done, chica!

Anonymous said...

hey! shouldn't christmas eve goose be #211??

Sarah said...

Ooh, you're right! I've edited it now. Well spotted, my anonymous commenter!

xox Sarah

Anonymous said...

sorry doll it was me.

Ilana xoxo

Lisa said...

I can't believe you did it! And so well, too! Unbelievable!!!! The goose looked incredibly delicious, as did the stuffing, and only you would think to add the cost comparison of your dress and the gosling...AND serve gooseberries for dessert! YOU ROCK!!! You deserve the HTE Oscar for that one.

kirstendk said...

Amazing Christmas Dinner, Sarah! I cooked goose(breast) too - for the first time on my own, had it last time when I was about twenty - am amazed how dark the meat is - almost beef-like! Will you be cooking goose again?
I love goosberries - when you see them in the shops again, do buy some more - there are so many great recipes to make - try gooseberry soup served with cream, and gooseberry fool.

Very pretty bracelet - what a great gift.