Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Post-Christmas Goose

A few days after Xmas I found myself in the meat aisle of the local supermarket.  Amid the whole chickens sat a goose.  The goose was the last of its kind not having been picked to adorn anyone's holiday table.  As such the bird was on offer at 50% off.  I paid about 14 CHF for a 1.5 kilo goose.
Post-Christmas Goose was a lovely meal, but the real fun came after most of the carcass was picked over.

Inspired by a post in a food forum I follow, I decided to make jook with the remnants of the bird.  Not following an actual recipe, I winged it, no pun intended.  Two things that jook needs in order to be really good are ginger and time.  Mine simmered for just under two hours, but I probably should have let it cook longer.  I hadn't any ginger, so the flavour of the jook was less than what it should have been.  I suppose I could have added either chicken stock or water to thin the mix out a bit, but, in the end, I didn't much mind.  The jook came out thicker than a porridge, but tasted fab with fish sauce drizzled over it nonetheless!  Of course, each individual portion can be thinned with a bit of water in a sauce pan before serving, so I needn't be eating jook with cutlery!

Post Xmas Porridge!

The carcass taken care of, I then decided to focus my attention on what to do with the goose fat I had collected from my cooked bird.  Thoughts of lovely, roasted potatoes danced in my head, but I wanted to do a bit more than the norm.  Fortunately, the Life & Style section of the Guardian provided a bit of direction.  As I only had 100 grams of goose fat, I made a half-batch version of these lovely, little pies.

Here is the recipe 'copied and pasted' for your perusal:

Pork and onion pies with goose-fat pastry
The pastry is very fragile, so use plenty of flour to roll it out. Serves 3-4, makes between 6 and 8 little pies.
For the pastry:
plain flour 400g
goose fat 200g
milk 80ml
water 80ml
beaten egg for glazing

For the filling:
onion 1 medium
butter a little
butcher's herby breakfast sausages 2
cooked smoked ham 100g
flour 2 tbsp
hot stock 200ml
parsley chopped

To serve:
redcurrant jelly melted

To make the filling, peel the onion and slice thinly, then let it colour in a little butter in a nonstick frying pan over a moderate heat. Remove the skin from the sausages then add them, broken into small pieces, to the pan. Press them down with a palette knife and let them brown. Tear the ham into small pieces and add to the onion and sausage. Leave to brown lightly, add the 2 tbsp of flour and continue cooking for a minute or two, then introduce the stock and parsley.

To make the pastry, season the flour with salt and black pepper. Put the fat, milk and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, tip in the flour, then stir briefly and firmly with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, smooth paste. Put a cloth over the pan and set aside for 15 minutes to cool a little. The dough must not go cold.
Flour a wooden board or work surface generously (adding more as you feel the need), then knead the pastry, lightly, for a minute or two. Roll out the pastry, somewhat thicker than usual, roughly the thickness of two pound coins placed on top of one another. Using a cookie cutter or the rim of a tumbler, cut out rounds about 8cm in diameter (you will get 12-16 of them), then place half of them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6.
Place 2 heaped tbsp of the filling on each of the pastry rounds on the baking sheet, then brush a little beaten egg around the edge of each one. Place one of the remaining rounds of pastry on top of each, pressing the edges together. Brush with some of the beaten egg, pierce a small hole or slit in the centre of each pie, then bake for 35 minutes until nut brown and softly crisp. Cool briefly, then serve warm rather than cold, with a pot of redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce lightly warmed.

An interpretation of the above savoury pie recipe.

I have to admit that I didn't follow the recipe to a 't'.  I couldn't be bothered to go to the store for the filling ingredients, and, instead, I thought I'd just use use left-overs from the night before.  The pork and onion pie became chicken in spicy tomato sauce pie.  I think it turned out very well indeed. 


  1. Aren't pies great with leftovers? I think pie pastry just makes everything within it taste like magic.

    By the way, I can taste the goose or duck 'jook' as soon as you mentioned it. I grew up with these congees, and it took me a while of living outside of Asia to learn how to cook one. Takes a lot of time to cook a jook, doesn't it.

    1. Yes, it takes forever for the jook to be finished. This morning's bowl was adequately thinned with water and made for a delightful breakfast.

      Pie pastry, especially made with goose fat, is so very tasty. I'd like to bake another goose just for the fat it would render!


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