Thursday, January 22, 2009

Goose and Sauce Madame

[Sorry about the recent lack of posts. Chalk it up to a combination of a minor flu bug and a hectic schedule.]

Back in December we had some friends over for a Winter Solstice dinner, and one of the dishes I cooked was Goose with Sauce Madame. I should have taken some pictures, but (of course) things were behind schedule and the kitchen was crazy and yadda yadda yadda, so you'll just have to imagine what it all looked like (though I'll admit it wasn't this pretty). I'll be posting the recipe for Sauce Madame on the website sooner or later (maybe after a couple more tries using chicken or duck instead of goose), but I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the dinner and how things turned out before I completely forget things.

First, the goose: I'd never made goose before, and the one I got from the grocer was actually relatively small - 10 to 12 pounds. Geese are weird, plain and simple. The skin was tougher than I thought, the meat was (way) darker in color than I expected, and while it put out lots of fat in the roasting pan (which I did expect) there was almost nothing in the way of juices. The meat tasted good enough to eat, but wasn't anything to rave about. Maybe bigger geese are better? Dunno. I've always heard that goose was something people ate more out of tradition than because they like it. That seems believable now.

The Sauce Madame smelled fantastic up until I added the goose drippings as instructed. Everyone seemed to like it (especially my wife), but it had an oily aspect that just didn't sit well with me. Maybe with more broth instead of oil (which implies some other bird than goose)?

The Wastel y-Farced turned out fantastic. I'd used a square, 2 pound loaf of sourdough bread. I had to improvise a steamer using a large pot with some water in the bottom and a bowl to act as a spacer, and the bread resting on the bottom of a small tart pan. It was warm, slightly gooey, and slightly sweet. Got to remember to make it again soon.

For a vegetable I went with the inevitable Brussels sprouts. I was too rushed by this point to make a cream sauce or anything, but perhaps next time. They were fresh, easy, and the family likes them, so if nothing else they blended into the background.

Finally there's the plum pudding. I love making plum pudding each year, and this one turned out just fine. Hector, who had just returned from school in England, noted the amount of butter and brandy used over there when serving these things, but otherwise didn't comment. Maybe I should take that as a bad sign. Then again, I like my plum pudding the way it is (as does the family), which I guess is what's important. Though ... more butter and brandy ... that doesn't sound too bad, eh? Maybe a tweak or two is in order.

So on the whole, it was a bit hectic and crazy, a good amount of yum, a heap of traditional, and a lot of fun. That's what the holidays are all about.


Steph said...

Wow, both the Sauce Madame and the Wastel y-Farced sound delicious! I'll have to try the Wastel y-Farced next time I make bread.

Am I right in assuming that duck would be much the same as goose? I seem to remember it having dark meat and being pretty greasy.

Doc said...

The goose produced a lot of grease and essentially no broth at all. What's more, I can't actually remember now what the goose tasted like (which means it was rather unimpressive).

The duck I've had in the past always tasted quite nice, with enough of a game flavor without being too strong. It also seemed moister. Maybe this was a bad goose and I've been lucky with ducks.

Anonymous said...

Ding it. I lost my recipe for goose with sauce madam. Glad yours turned out OK.

This dish works especially well with a wild-caught goose (a Canada) which can be "of an age" and quite tough.

As for fat - remember that this dish was eaten during a time when heated houses were unheard of. Anything that could help you stay warm (fat calories) was a plus. Today the greasy taste is not so palatable as it was in the 13th century.