Fabulous goose instead of turkey?

I'm thinking of roasting a goose (actually, 2 geese) this year instead of turkey for Thanksgiving. I've done some research online and on my cookbook shelf but am not finding any recipes that are really calling to me - they either seem waaaay too involved (eg, parboil then air dry the goose updide down for 24 hours) or uninspired, flavor-wise). I've never made goose before so I could use some guidance - either with some recommendations for foolproof recipes or general goose-prep techniques or maybe even someone to tell me it isn't worth the hassle.
My local butcher says they need to order the geese by Monday, so I need to decide soon whether to go on this "wild goose chase" or stick with the noble turkey this year.
Your advice?

  • Posted by: TobiT
  • November 9, 2013


dymnyno November 10, 2013
Todays NYTimes sure made the case for something other than turkey. My husband begs me every year to not do turkey. The goose sounded delicious. I am a huge pheasant fan myself(from the days when wild pheasant was easily available).
Maedl November 10, 2013
I'm in Germany, so Thanksgiving, if I am cooking, is definitely non-traditional. One year I did a kale and butternut squash lasagne that turned out fantastic and was very festive. Christmas is definitely non-traditional, too. Last year I did Boeuf bourguignon, and the year before that I made a Persian dish. I will probably go with a North African dish this year.
Greenstuff November 10, 2013
We never have turkey for Thanksgiving, and we are not the only ones. A couple year's ago, we had lamb, and for the next several days, it seemed that everywhere I went, people were telling me, "Well, we didn't have turkey, we had lamb..." From Norwegian cross-country skiers in Oregon to a good friend's aged mother-in-law in New Hampshire, across the country, it was the year of the lamb.

You'll be glad of your goose. I used to cook two every year, using the fat from the first to make confit with the second.

pierino November 10, 2013
Damn! That goose fat confit sounds great!. Let's violate all the rules. Keeping in mind that our Thanksgiving "traditions" really only date back to the late 19th century. Everything else is pure speculation. If there actually was a first Thanksgiving I'm guessing that the Native Americans tought the pilgrims how to shuck oysters and collect mussels. The turkey thing is nonsense. So, go forward with the things you are actually thankful for.
TobiT November 10, 2013
... Like lobster empanadas and foie gras ... :)
TobiT November 10, 2013
Wow - as always, what a helpful crew you all are! Some great suggestions and recipes. The BBC goose seems to have what I'm looking for, but I will also check out Pepin's recipe - a friend has that book. To address some of your comments: We are a small group this year (just 4 adults and 2 hard-to-please children who don't deserve succulent goose anyway), so I'll stick with one large goose and then probably do a small turkey for next-day "leftovers" (love the braised parts idea!). I DID float the possibility of goose instead of turkey with the more tradition-bound members of our group, and they were a-ok with it. The butcher assures us that our goose will be fresh from a local farm, humanely raised on organic foods and Mozart piped into their opulent living quarters. That's where we will get our small turkey from, too. And we ALWAYS go heavy on the Thanksgiving sides, as that's REALLY where my heart lies. Finally, I plan to ingratiate myself to pierino to wrangle an invite to next-year's Thanksgiving - sounds yummy!
pierino November 10, 2013
And TobiT you will be most welcome.
pierino November 10, 2013
When it comes to the holidays I'm all for breaking tradition. I've probably cooked at least 50 in my life and it's BORING! For Thanksgiving we normally cook three. I politely suggested that perhaps we substitute a capon for one of them. I was told by the committee managing this that it would be "hurtful" to others. Talk about a bunch of turkeys! Goose sounds great to me. If you can get your hands on a copy of Jacques Pepin's "A French Chef Cooks at Home" he has a fine recipe.
My own plan now is to prepare lobster empanadas but reserve them exclusively for my own guests, maybe with foie gras if I can smuggle some into California. And then the hell with the hippies.
Pegeen November 10, 2013
Cookbookchick makes an important point about goose being less meaty so you might want to amp up your side dishes. Not sure where your butcher is sourcing from, but you might want to see if you can buy from a local poultry farm.
I would vote for "not worth the hassle" but Julia Child's recipes are never far from the truth if you want to proceed.
On a different note, something I've tried with good success was Mark Bittman's approach to braising separate turkey pieces rather than the whole bird. Worked out perfectly. You don't have that moment of presenting the whole bird, but it's such a fleeting moment anyway: by then the crowd is chanting "slice it already!"
The recipe will be in a link on the left side of the page.

cookbookchick November 10, 2013
I've done goose for Thanksgiving a couple of times, most recently when circumstances prevented me and my husband from being with family for the holiday. From my experience, you should be aware that though a goose is a large bird, it has relatively little meat on it. One large goose was just enough meat for the two of us with very little left over.
nutcakes November 10, 2013
I was very happy the year I roasted a goose. Too long ago to give you tips but it wasn't hard. You just have to deal with the fat, but it is a bonus. I just don't think everyone else was as happy, so know your crowd. I did discover that I hate chestnuts, which I used in some kind of side dish.
Maedl November 10, 2013
I just looked at BBC's food website--they have some interesting ideas: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/goose
Maedl November 10, 2013
Disclaimer--I haven't roasted either a turkey or a goose. On the other hand I have eaten plenty of them!

Basic goose prep is about the same as turkey and I think geese have more flavor than those wretched, mass-produced birds that are shot up with some sort of solution to add flavor to meat that tastes like white cotton. If you speak German or French, google for recipes--there are lots out there. I can help with the German--and most likely the French--if the language is a problem. You might also consider roasting an heirloom turkey--one of the older breeds that were not developed for commercial use and still taste like turkey.
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