$400,000 18th Century Chinese Export Goose Tureen
In music, a variation is “a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form”. My theme is goose (Variations on Goose? –– what would Bach say?). This is the 3rd and final part of my goose trilogy.
Variations can be visual, like these obscenely expensive and rare Chinese Export porcelain geese from the 18th century you see decorating this post, whose creators took the humble goose and delicately individualized each porcelain bird with a sophisticated rainbow of glazes in what was to be the last gush of Chinese imports before western pottery makers took over the market (what a pity, these are remarkable creatures).
Variations can happen in cooking as well as art. I think my favorite creative cooking moments come when I latch on to a technique or an ingredient and run with it like those Chinese potters did. This often happens when I am introduced to a new ingredient or one that I have only used infrequently that finally captures my imagination. It makes me want to take it out for a test drive and see what it can do. Yes, it’s true, the goose made me do it.
$500,000 Qianlong 18th c tureens from Christie's
I struck up an email conversation with Jim Shiltz of Shiltz Goose a few months ago and got to play with a variety of goosely products. I have loved each one –– from smoked goose (see HERE) to the ground goose meatballs I made (see HERE) and now his foie gras.
His foie gras is done without the traditional ‘finition d’engraissement’ (gavage). Instead, these geese are encouraged to be gluttons and they rise to the task admirably. As I’ve mentioned before, the whole idea for creating the gavage system was to mimic a natural proclivity of the goose to gorge. It was discovered that they would overeat prodigiously to fortify them for their fall migrations (a wild goose can nearly double its weight preparing for this flight). The livers of these geese were enlarged and absolutely delicious. The Shiltz goose liver was probably the most flavorful fowl liver I’ve ever had.
1760 Chinese Export Tureen, V&A
I got 3 grades of liver from Schlitz. They go from normal size to a few times normal size. The color changes from red to pale golden pink. It is this last variety that I worked with for my recipe. It isn’t like the very fat and pale foie gras that I am used to. A test with some local foie experts agreed, although not as fat, it is incredibly flavorful (just like Jim’s geese). I wanted to do a riff (a Jazz form of “variations on a theme”) on the fabulous foie gras burgers that I have read about, made and loved.
Thing is, once I made this burger, I realized the technique would work with duck of course, but would also make a luxurious turkey or chicken (using ground thigh meat) or even ostrich burger (you could use smoked chicken or duck in the mix–– even ham would work). I made the foie gras filling using my all-time favorite liver mousse recipe that I’ve used FOREVER. It makes the burger incredibly moist and flavorful. Since goose is delicious with port and port is delicious with Stilton I put them into the burger and loved it. I fed it to Dr. Lostpast (who only tried it because it was my birthday –– his initial reaction to my request was ICK, goose burgers?), and he was shocked. They were delicious. The mousse and port jelly bathe the interior of the burger with a luxurious flavor that is really out of this world.
1770 Chinese Export Tureen from Christies ($180,000 Goose!)
I tried them with puff pastry shells and also with brioche buns (the classic accompaniment to fancy burgers) and liked them both ways. The recipe for brioche is from Martha Stewart and is truly the best I’ve found. The puff pastry is my favorite recipe and rises like a dream (recipe is HERE ).
These little burgers are very rich and are best when made small like a slider in my opinion.
“The Dickens”, Goose and Stilton Burger with Foie Gras Center (makes 8 large to 24 small burgers)
Goose meat mixture
Foie gras mousse
Port jelly or currant jelly
½ pound Stilton Cheese
Sautéed onions (1 or 2 sliced onions)
Brioche Buns or pastry puffs (toasted or warmed)
Make 16 to 48 flat paddies with the goose. Top half of the patties with a spoon of the liver and a small spoon of the jelly. Top with the remaining paddies and seal well, but do not handle too roughly (compression makes them tough). Fry at medium heat or grill until cooked (as for a MW burger).
Top with Stilton just before removing from the heat to melt it a little (using lid of pan) and place on bun with onions and serve.
Goose Burger Mix
1 ½ lb ground goose made from Schiltz goose meat (I ground it myself) or ground duck, turkey, chicken or ostrich
½ lb ground pork
¾ c finely minced smoked goose from Shiltz Goose
1 t mace
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t salt
2 t pepper
1 t ground coriander
3 T Port
1 T chopped fresh marjoram
Combine all and reserve.
Mousse de Foie d'Oie, Canard, Volaille (goose, duck or chicken)
1 c goose liver from Shiltz Goose, chopped ( I think you could use any of the goose liver varieties with this recipe or chicken or duck liver)
1 T goose fat or butter
1 shallot, sliced
½ t thyme
2 T Cognac
¼ c Port
1/3 c stock
1 t Worcestershire sauce
½ c cream
salt and pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the goose liver and shallot with the goosefat or butter. When the liver is just about done, add the thyme and mustard and the liquors and stock and reduce a little. Put in the blender with the cream and Worcestershire and blend, adding more cream or stock if it is needed. Chill till hardened.
¼ c port
¼ c demiglace
1 T currant jelly
Reduce port, add the demiglace and currant jelly and warm. Remove from the heat.
Sautéed Onions with Port
1 or 2 sliced onions
1 – 2 T goose fat
salt and pepper to taste
1 -2 T port
Sauté the onions in the goose fat slowly until browned and softened. Add salt and pepper to taste then the port to glaze. Reserve
Brioche Buns, recipe from Martha Stewart, for 8 large rolls to 24 small rolls
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
3 T sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached bread flour
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
Vegetable oil cooking spray, for bowl
Combine milk, sugar, yeast, and 1/2 cup bread flour in the bowl of a mixer. Mix until just combined. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour, the all-purpose flour, and salt to cover; do not mix. Let stand for 45 minutes.
Using the dough-hook attachment, mix dough to combine. Add 4 eggs, and continue to mix until dough is smooth and does not stick to sides of bowl, about 5 minutes. Mix in remaining egg. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until incorporated. Continue mixing until dough is smooth and comes together in a ball around the dough hook, about 5 minutes more.
Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl, and cover with plastic. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough, and re-cover. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough again, re-cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 425º degrees. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and punch down. Working in batches (refrigerate remaining dough as you work), evenly divide dough into thirty-two 1-ounce pieces. Punch down each piece using the palm of your hand, and press each into a tight ball using the heel of your hand.
Butter small Turk's-head or similar shaped cast-iron pans. Place 3 dough balls each inside molds (dough should fill three-quarters of each mold section). Or, make simple buns on pieces of parchment on sheet pans. Loosely cover pans with plastic; let stand in a warm place until dough balls are soft and springy to the touch, about 30 minutes.
Lightly brush tops with egg wash. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and continue to bake until tops are dark gold (time will vary depending on size of pans or the bun size). Remove from oven, and immediately remove brioche rolls from pans and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday
Thanks to eHow for including my gooseburger on their Burger Emporium slideshow.