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Goose Isabel

Goose Isabel

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Serves 10 to 12.
By Dennis W. Viau; inspired by a Rabbit Isabel recipe.

Goose is outrageously expensive, for tasting almost like turkey dark meat. However, it is one of those exotic foods that make for a pleasant surprise when serving, at least here in the USA. Most people here enjoy turkey at Christmas. Why not goose? This recipe started as an experiment. It turned out so well, I wanted to share it.

Ingredients:

1 goose; 10 to 12 pounds (4.5 to 5.5kg)
½ cup (3 ounces/85g) wild rice
½ cup flour (78g) (see below)
¼ teaspoon each ground mustard, ground rosemary, pepper, salt
2 tablespoons oil
½ pound (227g) pork sausage meat
4 to 6 fresh sage leaves
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
2 egg whites
12 pieces thinly sliced ham, such as deli sandwich ham
Oil (or goose fat) for frying
1 medium onion; diced
½ cup (118ml) white wine

Directions:

The goose sold here in the USA is usually frozen. Thaw a few days in the refrigerator if necessary.

Start the rice cooking according to package directions, as it will take about 45 minutes. Typically you would use about 2 cups water for ½ cup dry wild rice.

To prepare seasoned flour: Mix about ½ cup flour with the herbs and spices. You could add or substitute other herbs you might like to try. Set aside until needed.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and sauté the sausage meat until cooked thoroughly, breaking it up with a spatula. Remove from the heat.

Remove the skin and fat from the goose and fillet the meat from the legs. Set aside. Carefully carve the breast meat away from the rib cage using a sharp boning knife. Slice each breast lengthwise into two broad, flat slices. (The skin and fat can be rendered to collect the goose fat. Many chefs like to cook with goose fat.)

Place the leg meat (with the giblets, if desired) in a food processor with the sage and basil leaves. Mince well. Place in a bowl and add the cooked pork sausage and cooked wild rice. Add the egg whites and mix well. Season carefully with salt and pepper, as you can’t taste the raw goose meat for flavor.

Place one piece of breast meat on a clean surface. Arrange 6 pieces of ham around the edges, such that they overlap the edges and spread outward, like the petals of a flower. See the pictures below. Place half the filling in the center of the ham slices, shape into a loaf with your hands, and fold the ham slices over the filling to contain it. Place the other half of the breast meat on top. Tie with kitchen twine.

Dredge the breast loaves in seasoned flour.

Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Place the breasts in the oil and brown well on all sides. Use a pair of spatulas to turn and to hold as you brown the ends. The flour will brown quickly. Typically 2 minutes on each side is enough to brown the loaf well. Remove and set aside. Carefully drain the oil and wipe the pan of burnt flour. Add fresh oil and return to the heat.

Add the chopped onions to the skillet and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, allow to cool a few minutes, and then carefully add the wine. Place the loaves back in the skillet. If you do not have an oven-safe skillet, use a baking pan.

Heat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the goose loaves are cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C), 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the strings. Reserve the onion-wine mixture for garnish.

Place on a platter and serve with oven roasted vegetables arranged around the sides. Slice at the table and garnish with the onion-wine juices.