This year we finally got a holiday goose. There really is only one time of year where one would pay the expense (and the expense is far more substantial than it ought to be) and with the girls waist deep in stories referring to a Christmas goose, we took the plunge. The thing is a goose is big and we have 2 adults and 2 preschoolers, so after trimming the fat from the goose, I cut it in half.
The first half was roasted with apples and purple cauliflower. The meat is rich and brown from tip to tail. With the trimmed skin and fat, I rendered over a quart of fat. With the bones and oddly long wings, I made stock. With the breast, I cooked up a little laap from the Pok Pok cookbook. When you have a goose leg though, there is only one real option. The goose leg is going into a bath of goose grease.
Despite having a quart of rendered goose fat, I still prefer to confit in a vacuum sealed bag. On top of saving fat, storage is unmistakably easier. It is as easy as seal it in a bag, toss it in a waterbath, and then drop it in a fridge to cool. Before you seal the leg with some fat in a bag, there is a bit of time (2 days) to cure the leg in a rub of salt with bay leaf, thyme flowers, and a few spices.
When you are ready to eat the confit of goose, the way to work this optimally is to steam the bag until the goose fat liquifies. Then pour the fat into a jar and put the leg on a baking rack over a cookie sheet. Then crisp the skin in a 400 degree oven. The crispy skin is delicious, but the dark, rich meat below is the treasure. Think duck, but richer and slightly gamier.
As much as I wanted to scoop a spoonful of mustard on a plate and tear the goose flesh from the bones and make a standing snack of it, the goose was added to a cassoulet along side the goose stock and fat made from the same goose (and pork, and pork sausage, and lamb, and beans…). The richness of the goose confit essentially supercharges the rich cassoulet and when temperatures hits single digits, we are happy to have that supercharge at our disposal.
On the left is the water-rendered goose fat. On the right and in the foreground is the fat poured from the confit.
Based on recipe in Charcuterie
- 1 goose leg
- 17 grams kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 sprigs thyme with flowers
- 3 allspice berries
- 3 coriander seeds
- 3 fennel seeds
- 5 grams peppercorns
- 2 cloves
- 1 pint of goose fat
Step one: Pounds all non-goose related ingredients in a mortar and pestle until it is consistent texture. This is the cure.
Step two: Cover goose leg in cure in a shallow dish. Cover with clingwrap. Let cure for two days.
Step three: Rinse cure from the goose leg and dry with paper towels.
Step four: Seal goose leg and fat in a vac seal bag or trustable zip top bag.
Step five: Place bag in a dutch oven. Cover with water. Weigh the leg down with a plate and cook in a low oven (225) for 12-16 hours.
Step six: Chill until ready to eat. When ready to eat, remove from fat and crisp in an oven.