Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:45 AM
I will also breast out my birds but I always save the legs as that's where the most flavorful meat is. Locally all we get is Canadas but there are 7 different species of Canadas here. In eastern Oregon and Washington there are more honkers than anything else so if you want to hunt geese that's what you get. What I sometimes do is cook them like a pot roast in the oven. Cooking them slowly with water in the pan causes them to get tender. I will breast them out and put the breasts and legs in a dutch oven and cook them for about 1 hr & 45 minutes. I then add the vegetables and cook them for another 30 to 45 minutes. I have a professional style duck picker but even so, honkers are a real pain to pick. You still have to pull out the big feathers before cleaning them up with the picker but even so I like to roast a whole bird or two every year. I bought a small covered roasting pan for that purpose a long time ago. Slow cooking and moisture is important there, too. Stuffing the bird is also important if you want them to be tender and I rub the skin with peanut oil. Cooking them breast side down helps, too. Before stuffing them go inside the body cavity and cut a few holes through the breast bone.When I was single I liked to roast a big goose about once a week and then cut off slices for sandwiches to take to work for lunch. Cold honker sandwiches are pretty good. Cacklers are incredibly tough so I always breast them out. I will save the legs from all of the mallards and geese I breast out and slow cook them like I described for eating in front of a football game with friends. I like to take cackler breasts and put one between some Glad wrap and pound them with a mallet until the meat is broken down and the breast is thin. I'll then bread the breast and fry it in some olive oil with a couple of unpeeled garlic cloves until it's just done. I'll put the meat on a good French roll for a great sandwich. My wife likes them! While on the subject I'll tell you my favorite way to cook sprig. I pick them clean with the duck picker and once totally cleaned I will season them with nothing but salt. I go inside the breast cavity with a small paring knife and poke a bunch of holes in the breast bone. I will get apples that are generally used to make cider, Gravensteins, Macintosh, Northern Spy, etc, or any sweet apple. The important thing is that they are juicy and sweet. I peel the apple and cut it in slices and then stuff as much of it as I possibly can in the birds. I place them breast down in a small pan putting 3 or 4 of them pushed close together and roast them at 325 for about 1 hr and 15 mins. When they're cool enough I will pull out the apple slices and eat the birds with my fingers. This is good stuff.
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