If I had a dollar for everyone who told me that goose legs were inedible, I’d be able to buy a new truck. It just isn’t so, as this Spanish goose recipe will show you.
Now keep in mind I am not necessarily asking you to pluck lots of geese here: This recipe works great with skinned legs from snow geese, which is what I used, or Canada geese. You really ought to pluck any specklebelly geese you get, however, and make goose confit with them.
Getting at the legs is simple. Skin the breast as you normally would, and just yank the skin back toward the vent. You’ll expose the legs. Pop them back against the ball-and-socket joint and cut them free. Easy-peasy.
Once you have them, this recipe is a breeze. Could you do it with breast meat? I guess, but the texture will be all wrong.
I am indebted once again to the late, great Penelope Casas for this recipe, which she did with lamb. You can find her version in her excellent book The Foods and Wines of Spain. Hers is called cochifrito, essentially potted lamb with lemon.
What this is is a “dry” stew, where the “stew” really because a sauce. You slow cook the goose legs with olive oil or duck fat, lots of garlic, lemon juice and sherry. I add slices of preserved lemon to the party, which add a lot, but aren’t essential. You can just use slices of regular lemon peel.
Served with crusty bread or rice, it is an intensely bright, meaty dish you’ll find yourself eating more of than you’d ever thought. Holly and I ate six snow goose legs in two sittings.
I make this recipe in a Dutch oven because I can monitor the amount of sauce in the pot. You could make this in a slow cooker, too, but you’ll need to check on it from time to time, just as with the stovetop version.
Penelope Casas' original version of this recipe uses lamb, but any red meat will work. Try this with goose, duck, venison shoulder or neck, or hell, even light meats like turkey legs. Once made, this will keep in the fridge a week, and it can be frozen.
- 3 tablespoons duck fat or olive oil
- 6 to 8 goose legs
- 2 heads garlic, cloves peeled but whole
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup chicken, duck or goose broth
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- Black pepper to taste
- 4 to 6 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 peel from a preserved or fresh lemon, sliced thin
Heat the duck fat in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and brown the goose legs. Salt them as they cook.
Add the remaining ingredients except for the black pepper, green onions and preserved lemon, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook over very low heat until the meat wants to fall off the bones of the geese, about 2 1/2 hours. Keep an eye on it, and add more broth if needed
When the meat is ready, fish it out and strip it off the bones. Return the meat to the pot and add the black pepper and preserved lemon. Cook the sauce down until it thickens a bit.
Serve garnished with the green onions alongside bread or rice.
Good ingredients matter. It makes a big difference if you use good garlic, fresh lemon juice, good olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. The sherry matters, too. Use something you'd drink.