Where did I manage to get the goose?
A friend of mine has a small farm with a variety of farm animals. He usually attends each event. He offered to bring a duck or a goose for the Christmas event at school. I did not fancy to make that day even more full of food prep. So, instead of straight up accepting, I asked jokingly that I will volunteer if he wanted to get rid of a Goose. I stated that I was planning to have dinner for a smaller group. Where he would be welcome to join. He instantly replied enthusiastically. Sadly he could not participate in the dinner. So, if you are reading this, I would like to say thank you again! It was a really nice gift. I do not like the traditional way of keeping the bones in so I prepared the goose and why I did it in the manner as I did.
The deboning of the goose.
In my opinion meat should be dealt with great respect. You are working with something that used to be alive. For this reason, I try to utilize as much as possible. I therefore wanted to debone the bird. This allows for easier carving the finished product. On top of that I get to practise a set of butcher skills that I haven’t used in a long time. I have not done an oven roast like this before. I have been eager to try deboning and stuffing a bird for months. So, I finally had the chance. It did not turn out as complicated as I expected. It took me roughly 30 minutes to debone it completely. I left the leg and wing bones in. This way it maintains the look of a bird.
I recommend to use a smaller knife like the one on the right. This allows for more precision with your cuts. It also allows you to get into more tight space and closer to the bone. The ball joint is a perfect example. This is one of the harder points of the bird. Here you need to cut all around the joint before it lets loose. A thinner and flexible the knife the easier it is to manage this part. I used the big knife only to cut the wings off. A heavier knife or cleaver could also be used to break the bone. I hope to demonstrate this the next time I get a chicken and decide to make the another ballotine. So, stay tuned for this content.
Stitching and preparing to stuff the bird.
I pierced the skin in one place where it was exceptionally thin. This was on the chest bone of the bird. The skin is literally attached to the bone. I corrected this mistake by stitching it together again. I started off using a slightly more complex stich. Where you make a regular stich, do not pull it completely tight. This leaves a loop, go with the needle through that loop. Now it you pulled it tight. This folds over the tissue, leaving no room for anything to sip out. However, this is a bit unnecessary for a goose. You actually want to have some of the fat sip out so a regular stich works well enough. You even can leave some space between the stiches. (I did not have any seeping holes for the fat to sip out, which left the ballotine to completely swell up.)
Now comes the actual stuffing part.
As for the stuffing I decided to go with minced chicken with apple and bread crumbs. To add a little bit of extra flavour I decided to half a glass of port to add to the sweetness of the apples. While at the same time adding to the flavour of the goose. Cinnamon and apple always go hand in hand. So, this spice could not be left out. The total weight of the bird was around 3-4 kg deboned. The weight of the stuffing was 1,5kg. I decided to use 10% of the weight in salt. This turned out to be okay, in my opinion. The stuffing fitted perfectly into the bird. Once, it was in place I made sure to make the bird as thick everywhere. I stitched up the last hole. To finish it off I tied some additional roast knots on the outside so it maintains an even shape during the roasting. This made it look a bit funky. It made it look a bit like bondage. But I have yet to learn a tidier way to create this product. Hopefully the next time it will look a lot better.
Using the bones.
The bones were broken into smaller pieces so they managed to fit into the pot. Together with the bones, I added a few scoops of bouillon, 3 carrots, 4 onions, and 3 cloves of garlic. I also added cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, and the usual salt and pepper. I left this to simmer for 3-4 hours. After I pulled the meat off the bones. I added back the meat and added a lot of different vegetables and potatoes. Left this for another 20 minutes to boil. Which left me with 8 liters of soup. I must say that the soup turned out really good. I actually am a bit disappointed that I already ran out of it.
The end results.
The dinner guests were quite happy with the result. I myself was also very satisfied. For some reason the skin got really chewy. If someone knows why this happened please let me know in the comments down below. I think it was a slightly older goose. But I still did not expect it to be this chewy. I am really looking forward to give this method of preparing a bird another try. It was a very interesting and rewarding process. So, if you want to read about my next efforts of becoming a better chef and butcher stay tuned.