Goose meat is sourced from farmed geese. Goose meat is darker, fuller bodied, and more intensely flavored than turkey or duck, but it can be a little dry and dense. Apart from farmed geese, hunters may also shoot wild geese for personal consumption.
History of Goose Meat Consumption
Since ancient time, geese were domesticated for meat, eggs and fat. Archaeological excavations in ancient Egypt, Rome and China have shown that goose meat was actively consumed in different forms. Goose meat or roast goose was very popular in Europe and UK too. It was the preferred bird for roasting during Christmas season and the New Year. In Victorian England, goose meat was a staple during the winter season and for special occasions. Goose liver, goose fat and skin were all prepared in gourmet dishes in the UK and Europe.
Goose liver is a very popular alternative to expensive foie gras. Domesticated geese are force fed with grains for their fatty livers. These livers are then sautéed with meat or processed to form pates, spreads, and parfaits. This force feeding process also produces a bird that has a rich layer of nutty fat below this skin. These birds are ideal for roasting. During the roasting process, the skin turns crispy as it deep fries in the fat and the bird meat remains soft and moist. Usually, the bird is stuffed with apples, nuts and figs and served with spicy chutneys.
Preferable Methods of Cooking Goose Meat
Goose meat is almost all dark meat and the taste is almost similar to turkey. However, the high fat content of goose meat ensures that the meat will not dry out during the cooking process. A large amount of fat will drain out when the bird is roasted and this is the ideal method for preparing the meat. However, casseroles and pies with the meat are also prepared. Gourmands state that blanching the bird in hot water and then pricking the skin before roasting produces the ideal roast.
Nutritive Value of Goose Meat
Goose meat is rich in protein at about 25g of protein per 100g of meat. The meat contains 240 calories per 100g. The total cholesterol content is about 137mg and the sodium content is 109mg. However, the breeding process, and the feed of the animal will also influence the taste and fat content of the meat.
Goose Meat Buying/Storing Tips
Traditionally, birds are killed around 10 weeks of age to produce lighter birds for cooking. Heavier birds are allowed to grow to 24 weeks of age for roasting. Roasting birds for the Christmas market are fed an almost fully grass diet supplemented with additional feeding to fatten up the bird. Usually, Embden, Legarth and Toulouse breeds are reared for the UK seasonal Christmas market. An average male bird weighs 15 kg while female bird will yields about 9 kg of meat. The ideal time to buy roasting birds is from September 29th to New Year. Supermarkets in the UK and US start stocking goose around this period of time. It is also possible to order the meat online.
A few TV chefs have stated that goose fat is ideal fat for roasting potatoes or frying meat in. As a result, goose fat and goose liver has become increasingly popular with gourmands.