Tired of leftover Thanksgiving turkey? How about a different bird, say a plump Canada goose?
The trick is to cook the goose just enough. As with all game, when overcooked it becomes tough, dry and tasteless. It doesn't have the natural fat of barnyard poultry.
The bird should be cooked to a golden brown, maybe blackened just a bit in splotches. Probe it with a fork or knife, and if it seems tender and juicy, it's done.
You can compensate for the lack of natural fat in a goose when roasting by laying strips of bacon or salt pork over the breast. The drippings will help keep the bird moist.
Lorraine Matarese, chief cook and bottle washer at M&M Hunting Lodge, probably the biggest live-in hunting operation in Delmarva, wows shooting guests with this:
M&M Roast Goose
2 geese dressed and prepared
1 pound bag of Herb Seasoned Pepperidge Farm Stuffing
4 stalks celery
1 large onion, diced and slightly browned
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
1/2 pound butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
3 cups cranberry juice
If frozen, thaw geese in cold water -- enough to cover bird. Add one-half cup vinegar plus one-quarter cup salt. Remove geese after two hours. Rinse outside of bird and cavity, and pat dry. To prepare stuffing, in a large bowl, combine dressing mix and the celery, onion, sausage, butter and egg; add enough water to moisten, approximately two cups. Mix well and stuff geese.
Place geese in roasting pan, breast side down; pour cranberry juice and equal amount of water in roasting pan. Cover birds and cook in pre-heated 350 oven for 3 1/2 to four hours or until meat falls easily from breast bone.
This and 16 other lodge favorites are included in Matarese's thin M&M Cookbook available for $3 by writing her at the lodge, RD 1, Box 67, Smyrna, Del. 19977.