Rich and slightly gamey, goose is a tasty alternative to turkey for your holiday table.
In the U.S. if you’re looking for something more sustainable and healthier for your holiday meal, a nice goose just might be the ticket. As of yet, geese are free from added hormones and antibiotics (unl, and tend to be raised in pasture settings since it is very challenging for them to thrive otherwise. Be aware that this is only true for geese being raised for consumption; geese being raised for foie gras undergo a very different and very horrible fate (unless otherwise specified).
It’s interesting how history can reverse itself; in Victorian England, goose was the more affordable option for the masses, while Turkey was more expensive. On today’s table, as you well know, turkey is commonplace. This is in part due to the hybridizing of the breed and the mass production factory farm operations. Turkeys are undergoing the same or similar unhealthy mass produced fate as chickens. Thankfully, this is not the case for the average goose....although seriously I cannot stress enough that this does not apply to geese raised for foie gras.
From a culinary perspective, if you were to read a recipe from the 1800’s or early 1900’s you might be quite daunted as to the preparation and cooking of a goose. Partially, this is because back then the geese were often older and more mature, making them tougher and gamier with a higher fat content. Today, the geese sold are often a couple of months younger, so they don’t require the tenderizing processes prescribed in early recipes. The one thing to be very aware of, is that goose is a much fattier meat, so it will need to be roasted in a pan deep enough to catch the fat (which you will want to keep because it is quite delicious to cook with and lasts for several weeks). Because of the fat content, any stuff placed in the goose will be that much more flavorful and also find its way into the meat.
From a health perspective, goose meat is a very good source of protein. It is higher in fat that other fowl, however it also higher in nutrient density. The fat in goose fat is about 52% monounsaturated fat making a relatively healthy choice for cooking. Typically, goose fat and meat is higher in omega 3 fatty acids due to their foraging diet. The meat of a goose tends to be a little earthier and rich in texture because of its higher fat content with darker meat throughout.