This bird ain’t no turkey.
Don’t get me wrong — I’ve become a fan. The turkeys we could get in Italy were modest in girth and chest size, not engineered to be the fowl equivalent of a blowup doll (in appearance and taste), and they were free-range, because that’s how it’s still done over there. Mostly. And back in the States, it’s easier than ever to get a heritage breed bird, one that cooks up full of flavor from wattle to tail, with nary a cottony part in between. I never got any Thanksgiving turkey this year, but that’s okay, because I discovered goose.
I may never eat another turkey again.
This is a Tamarack Hollow bird. Mike happened to have a few freshly slaughtered geese at his Union Square Greenmarket stand last Wednesday.
Notice how dark the breast meat is — like that of a magret or equally spectacular duck. And that’s what it tastes like too, except maybe better, with less potential fibrousness. My first reaction when I took a bite was to wonder why I eat any other kind of poultry. Why eat duck when one can have goose? Chicken? Pfffffft. I’ve retreated from the ledge since, not to worry; chicken has its place, but goose deserves far more hallowed status in the poultry pantheon. Funnily enough, with such a fatty bird, the breast is best roasted, but the legs, which end up a little tough benefit more from braising or confiting. The breast though — eye-rollingly delicious. Scroll up and look at it again; give it your undivided attention. Check out that skin.
The other reason to go goose if one is doing a Big Bird is that it pays major, major dividends. A turkey is never going to give up a quart of magical fat — fat that turns German butterball potatoes into this:
And a liver that can be turned into this:
(That’s a mousse de foie.)
And the gizzards and heart — well, that’s a post for another day.