Goose breast instead of duck
Sooner or later in France, everyone encounters ‘magret de canard’, or duck breast. These fantastic and juicy alternatives to steak come from the foie gras birds, and are available year-round. But goose magrets are usually only produced at this time of year, so get your orders in now for this very seasonal treat.
The magrets come from birds, which have been fattened for their foie gras, but the resulting meat is tender and especially mouth-watering served pink. The fat in the skin keeps the meat moist rather than making it oily, and is scrumptious when crisped up – think crackling!
Goose magrets are quite rich, with lots of akmost gamey, red meat flavour, so they go really well with traditional festive accompaniments like red berry conserves, citrus flavours, spices and well-reduced red wine gravy. The meat is also excellent if served thinly sliced, and accompanied by a simple but well-made pepper or blue cheese sauce. Magrets are extremely versatile; like steak, you can grill, roast, fry or barbecue it over the hot coals of a fire.
The magrets shown in the pictures come from La Ferme Anserine (Gabillou, Dordogne). When I went to collect them, the farmer, Olivier, was in the midst of seasonal goose processing, goose parts piled everywhere, and the tantalising scent of rillettes in the crisp, cold air. Olivier explained that he rears the geese all year, but due to their sensitivity and migration instincts, they are only suitable for fattening now. He has to fatten, slaughter and process his whole flock within 3 months!
REMEMBER: If you want a whole goose to roast for Christmas, you need to order it from the butcher; you can’t really use foie gras birds for roasting!
La Ferme Anserine – Foie gras, honey, chambres d’hôte
Tel: +33 (0)5 53 05 13 33
By Gemma Driver
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