Geese fly over my house all the time. They are abundant in our local parks and lakes. I enjoy their conversational honking and V-formations, and even though they are migratory marvels, they are also very messy and not especially friendly. I was chased by a goose while taking a walk at one of our forest preserves, guessing that her goslings were nearby and I got a little too close for her comfort. It’s when I learned that geese hiss like a cat, which I didn’t know until I had to frantically run away before her hissing turned into biting. Another time, a huge flock flew over our house right as I was getting out of the car and had just stepped into the garage, when a huge barrage of their droppings wiped out the car and half the house. And I mean they were covered. The sound of the mess falling from the sky sounded like a mob throwing eggs, fast and furious, and it was awful to clean up. All I could think of was it could have been my head.
Cooking a goose or a duck always sounded so exotic to me, as in the Christmas goose from Dickens novels, or when I lived near San Francisco, seeing all the ducks hanging from the ceilings and even outside above the sidewalks in Chinatown. One of the most intriguing kitchen pieces is an antique duck press. Talk about an intimidating piece of machinery! For a long time, I never thought much about cooking duck and geese until one autumn day I decided to try my hand at duck a la orange, and I was sold. It was heavenly. The first goose I cooked had a flaming cherry sauce, also wonderful. But given the choice, I prefer duck over goose.
I don’t have many cookbooks specifically on duck and geese, so when I found this one on a trip to Alaska I was thrilled. Along with the classics such as duck soup and terrines, you will find duck with an oyster, pecan, and cornbread stuffing; breasts with apples and juniper berries; a Peking roll with red cabbage and sausage; a gumbo with duck and crab; and breasts with a black grape sauce. The traditional goose recipes include roast goose with Yorkshire pudding, terrines, and cassoulet, along with braised breasts with spaetzle, another breast recipe with figs and fennel, goose sausage, and Cajun-inspired goose with dirty rice. In addition to the recipes are easy to follow step-by-step instructions for carving a duck or goose, boning a duck for a ballotine, and “building” a terrine maison, along with gorgeous photographs of the recipes.
How about trying a duck or goose instead of turkey or ham for the upcoming holiday seasons? I guarantee you will find something in this beautiful cookbook.