Friday, December 17, 2010

Pottage of Fat Goose with Pureed Peas

If you perchance peruse historic goose recipes, going much further back than Dickens’ roast goose served on the Cratchit’s Christmas table, you will find a panoply of intriguing techniques. There is goose baked whole in a pastry crust in 16th century Italy, goose stuffed with oats and boiled, geese semi-roasted, slashed and finished on the grill in what was known as a carbonado in Restoration England, goose ragouts and others served in a staggering variety of sauces. But one in particular caught my attention. It hails from Le Cuisiner of Pierre de Lune, published in 1656, and involves salted cured goose, served in a “pottage” of puréed peas. Here is the recipe, translated from the original:

Potage d’oie grasse aux pois passés

If the goose is salted, do not lard it; if it is not, then lard it with bacon; then cook it in a pan with lard, and then cook through with bouillon, and a bundle (of herbs). Cook your peas separately and pass through a seive with the goose bouillon, parsley, a bit of pepper, and a morsel of green citron. Garnish with fried bread and little bits of crumbled bacon.

To help recreate this dish, here is a full description of the technique: Carefully remove each half of the breast from the goose with a sharp boning knife. Keep the skin attached. Remove the legs and thighs intact for another use, such as confit. Use the bones and giblets for a light stock, which you can freeze for use later in the recipe. (Reserve the liver for yourself, seared and served on crackers.)

Mix 2 tablespoons of fine sea salt with 1.5 tablespoons of unrefined sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of instacure #1 (or “pink salt” which can be bought on line or at specialty grocers, or celery powder cure which works fine), 1 tablespoon ground pepper and a tablespoon of crushed juniper berries. Liberally coat the breasts, put into a large gallon-size ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator for a week to ten days. Turn the bag over every day.

Remove the breasts from the fridge, rinse off and pat dry. Brown them gently in a pan with a 2 tablespoons of melted lard (or goose fat). Toss in a bouquet garnis tied with string. Pour over goose stock to cover half way and cook breasts through very gently, with the pan covered, about 15-20 minutes. The final texture and taste will be remarkably like cooked ham.

Meanwhile boil a pound of green or yellow split peas in the bouillon with some parsley, pepper and candied green citron. Pass through a seive or purée in a blender or food processor. To serve, put the peas, which should be fairly thick, in a large deep platter and lay the goose breasts, thinly sliced, on top. Scatter croutons and bits of crumbled bacon on top for garnish. Serves 4-6 people.


Rachel Laudan said...

I. want. a. goose. Mexico. Forget it.

Deana Sidney said...

The peas and citron are such an interesting combination... and I just got some of the real italian stuff (sugar no corn syrup!) for my plum pudding... such a great recipe, Ken... unusual to say the least. Merry Merry!

Ken Albala said...

OH, Two of my favorite people in the world visit. What a day. I am told, Rachel, that the geese make their way all the way to Mexico in winter. Right about now. Know anybody with a fun?

And Deana, I AM steaming figgy pudding right now. What's your recipe?? (AND P.S. the damned bitter almonds are still on my desk! Sorry!)

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