Because the suckling pig feast was a success, I put my name down for the Christmas goose. Cameron named her Shazia, after another NY1 reporter who does the Zagat reviews on TV. It wasn’t difficult to carry her home like Rog; I just put her in my tote bag, dragged it to work and made the trip uptown. I picked up Shazia last week after Mike from Tamarack Hollow Farm hand-plucked the feathers for about two hours. I thought you could just submerge any bird in hot water and the feathers will easily come off like for chickens, but I learned that because geese are water fowls, they have oily feathers. Soaking them in water would only repel their natural oil–you really have to hand-pluck them.
We didn’t do anything special for Shazia. We only let her thaw in the fridge for a couple of days and just went to Chef Weld’s Brooklyn apartment for our holiday dinner. I saw him tie it up and rub it with some spices and next thing I know, it was in the oven. I saw him remove the goose fat and later used some of it for gravy with the liver. It was a huge bird, about 11 pounds, and I was a bit curious at how long it was, instead of, say, round like a turkey.
We spent a couple of hours hanging out and eating sausages, prosciutto and cheese while the bird stayed in the oven. There was sparkling wine and a few bottles of red. I was so glad to finally open a bottle I’ve been saving–a 2004 ChÃ¢teauneuf du Pape. Sharing it with good company and good food made it even tastier.
A bowl of roasted potatoes was served together with some sautÃ©ed purple cabbage and apples and frisÃ©e and endive with roasted red beets. It was my first goose so I was very surprised that it didn’t turn out tasting like duck, as I expected. The meat was, for a lack of a better word, tighter. It was also more gamey and had a taste of offal. A few pieces later, I was already full. It was like eating a big chunk of beef steak.
Christmas goose to me is very Charles Dickens. In Manila, we always had ham for noche buena or crispy pata (pig’s thigh) with the other traditional Filipino dishes, but I suppose the Victorian way was to always included game meats because they were expensive back in the days. My goose cost a lot of money but I bet we had a better time than the Cratchits.