We’re smack in the middle of waterfowl season – we just wrapped up early goose earlier in the month and are looking forward to duck season starting. One of my favorite traditions at duck camp is planning one or more meals where we eat what we’re hunting for. For years all we did was roast ducks and geese in the oven and while that’s great – duck does make the best gravy out there – I also got a little bored with the same thing.
Wild game is generally much leaner than meat you buy at the grocery store and benefits from a long cooking time to tenderize the meat. Roasting, braising and slow cooking are great for this. So while brainstorming I focused on these methods. While we were searching for ideas I was reflecting on this awesome burrito I had Phoenix and my recent experiment with carne asada and starting looking for ways to make a slow cooker style taco.
I realize that carne asada loosely translated means grilled meat. It’s generally beef and often marinated first in a mixture of citrus (like orange), onion, garlic and cilantro. Since goose is a dark meat and often reminds me of a roast beef when we roast it, I thought that it would play well with these carne asada flavors. And the slow cooker? Well we wanted to be able to eat lunch when we came back from our morning hunt AND I knew the goose needed to cook slow. It couldn’t handle a quick sear on the grill – that would just yield tough meat. Putting it in the slow cooker also meant adding some liquid, enter Mexican beer. After cooking it for 8 hours and shredding it, I ended up with a rich juicy, flavorful, falling apart tender meat that reminded me of beef. It had a similar richness to shredded brisket.
We served this like a make your own taco bar with guacamole, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, roasted pineapple salsa, and a restaurant style salsa. It was a hit with everyone at duck camp – so much so that I needed to heat up a second batch of tortillas (people ate more of this than the fajitas we made the night before!).
Here’s what you need:
Note: the goose breast isn’t pictured because at this point in time it was sitting in the fridge in a bag of salt water and quite frankly I didn’t think it looked pretty enough for this picture. You’ll need 4 goose breasts (from 2 geese). If you want to make a non-wild game version, I’d substitute about 3-4 lbs of a beef roast.
We started by soaking the goose in a large bag filled with salt water. Just dissolve enough salt in water to make it taste salty like the sea. This helps to take away some of the gamey flavor of the goose. Allow the goose to hang out with the salt water overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to start cooking just rinse the goose off and pat it dry.
Then chop up some onion, garlic and cilantro. I did this the night before because when you hunt waterfowl you get up before dawn so you can be in the field in time to watch the sun rise which is when the ducks and geese fly. I knew that I didn’t want to be chopping everything that early in the morning.
When you’re ready to cook, place the rinsed goose breasts in the slow cooker and spread the onion mixture on top. I had four breasts so did this in two layers.
Then squeeze in the juice from the limes and orange.
Pour in the beer.
Turn on the slow cooker and let it cook for 8 hours.
(If you find a way to make slow cooker food look pretty, please let me know). It doesn’t look particularly appetizing but please hang in there with me. We’re going to remove the goose breasts from the slow cooker and shred them.
Remove and reserve most of the liquid from the slow cooker. Place the shredded goose back into the slow cooker along with just enough cooking liquid to keep the meat juicy and moist. I probably added back in about a cup or so.
Now it’s time to serve. We put out a huge spread of warm flour tortillas (I love this tortilla warmer that America’s Test Kitchen recommended because it keeps them warm for a good 30 minutes.) various salsas and allowed people to build whatever they want. My spread included:
- Grilled Pineapple Salsa
- Tomatillo Salsa
- Restaurant Style Salsa (I used a serrano that we smoked ourselves instead of jalapeno)
- Pico de gallo
- Cotija cheese
But you can add any of your favorite ingredients.
I think this recipe would go great in burritos if you wanted to make some cilantro lime rice and your favorite salsa or guac. I’d use the leftovers in any place where you would use a shredded beef like a fajita style pizza, southwest mac n cheese, etc.
For any of you hunters out there whose spouse, children, families or friends aren’t huge fans of the bounty you bring home – I promise you that if you don’t tell them what they are eating no one will ever know this is wild game. It’s the perfect way to introduce skeptics to geese. Enjoy!
And if you have any good ideas or great recipes for how to use goose – I’m all ears! We’re always looking for new things to try. Leave me a note, suggestion or a link in the comments.
- 4 goose breasts
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- a handful of cilantro, chopped
- salt & pepper
- 1 orange
- 2 limes
- 1 c Mexican beer
- For serving:
- warm flour tortillas
- assorted salsas
- Dissolve enough salt in a couple cups of water in a large ziploc bag to make it salty like the sea. Place the goose breasts into the saltwater and refrigerate overnight. Rinse goose breasts and pat dry.
- Mix the onion, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper (to taste) together. Place two goose breasts in a slow cooker and top with half of the onion mixture. Repeat with the remaining goose breasts. Add the juice of the orange and limes as well as the beer.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred the goose breasts. Remove cooking liquid from the slow cooker and reserve. Add back the shredded goose and enough liquid to moisten to taste - i added about a cup.
- Serve with warm tortillas, pico, avocado slices, cojita cheese, tomatillo salsa, pinapple salsa, pico de gallo, fresh salsa, or other fresh salsas.