“Braising the Wild”: Taking on “the much-maligned Canada goose”

Jack Hennessy takes on ``the much-maligned Canada goose” this week in “Braising the Wild.”

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“Braising the Wild” takes on “The much-maligned Canada goose.”

Jack Hennessy

Oh boy, this is one of my most important topics, because I generally have several bags of goose breasts in the freezer at this point and what I end up doing with them is generally passable at best.

That’s quite unlike the joy that Jack Hennessy brings to cooking Canada goose this week in “Braising the Wild.” As usual, he offers some tidbits, one of which will change how I clean my Canada geese. From here on, I will be dry plucking my geese before breasting them out.

Here is the recipe:

‘‘The much-maligned Canada goose,’’ we once called it during a cooking seminar in Minnesota. It’s a waterfowl that often is referred to as ‘‘carp of the sky.’’ I have a good friend in eastern Washington whose wife is a great cook, but he tells me he’ll never shoot another Canada goose because he never has tasted one he could stomach. From my end, I’ve never tasted one that wasn’t amazing. Perhaps their diets and, thus, their flavor vary by region, but I have to believe certain steps are being overlooked. Canada goose numbers are, generally speaking, very healthy, regardless of where you live. There are ample chances to hunt them and pack your freezer with their meat. Here are a few tips to make certain you enjoy them to their utmost potential when doing so: Dry-pluck their breasts from keel bone to flank on both sides and ONLY THEN breast them out (versus skinning them and breasting them out). Waterfowl skin is bacon and bubbles and crisps up with flavor in the pan. Don’t throw it away. Brine your wild birds. Below is a great brine for Canada geese. Make sure to rinse off the brine thoroughly afterward, lest you be left with a coat of salt solution on the bird. NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER cook a Canada goose breast past medium-rare. Pull at 120 or 125 degrees and allow carryover cooking to bring that breast to 130 or 135. Degrees past that, the flavor starts to diminish exponentially. Ingredients (two servings): 2 breasts from a Canada goose, plucked 1 gallon of cold water 1/2 cup of non-iodized salt 1/2 cup of brown sugar 10 ounces of fresh ginger, crushed 1/2 cup of black peppercorns 1/2 large bulb of garlic, cloves peeled and smashed Orange slices for garnish To prepare: 1. Thoroughly stir together brine ingredients so salt and sugar dissolve, then soak goose breasts in brine for 12 to 18 hours. 2. When they’re done soaking, thoroughly rinse off breasts under cold water and pat them dry before letting them sit in fridge. 3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and remove breasts from fridge to bring them to room temperature for half-hour. 4. Add goose breasts (skin down) to a cold cast-iron pan. 5. Turn on burner below pan to medium-high. 6. Brown skin side and flip once golden. 7. Thoroughly sear other side, then put in oven. 8. Roast in oven until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees, then remove them (about 5 to 10 minutes). 9. Put breasts on plate and cover them with aluminum foil. Allow them to rest 10 minutes before serving. 10. Garnish with orange slices (optional). Any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram: @WildGameJack.

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