French purists and Julie and Julia-philes, avert your eyes! Did you know that you could bourguignon things besides beef? Did you also know that “to bourguignon” is actually a verb? Yes, it means “to make delicious via copious amounts of wine- preferably Burgundy.” You see, coming to SaltySeattle frequently’ll learn you something every time, won’t it?
Here’s the thing. A fair number of us make a Christmas goose. Problem is, goose meat left on the carcass after it’s been grazed over during the grand feast tends to tighten up. Some soften it by coating it in goose fat and jarring it into rillettes, but this year I wanted to do something more inventive with my goose, so I turned to peasants. Peasants are the most inventive sons of bitches you’ll ever meet, creating great delicacies from things like stones, snails, pig’s feet, and civet excrement.
Peasants taught me that simmering meat in a cauldron of wine is never a bad thing, and in return I wish to offer them (and you) this Goose Bourguignon as evidence to support that claim. I do it a little differently than the traditional Escoffier/Julia/Ina method in that the initial goose meat has already been cooked, but guess what? It’s easier this way, shhhh, don’t tell.
Also, I add secret, decidedly un-peasant-like ingredients like Meyer lemon zest (regular zest will do fine), molasses, and verjus. This way you can feel fancy if you want to, because I know how much you like being a fancy dancer in the kitchen. The molasses and verjus get slathered upon the traditional pearl onions to make them caramelized, sweet and sour.
These onions can be used for many things and are really a recipe unto themselves since they’re basically the only onions I could ever just pop into my mouth whole and lustily enjoy. All you do after you’ve peeled the onions (which I accomplish by cross-topping then blanching to make it easier) is douse them in a bit of molasses and verjus. They merely sauté until the liquid turns to caramel syrup and coats the onions, et voila. In case you are unfamiliar with the ingredient, verjus is an acidic juice made from unripe grapes and can be used in place of vinegar to remarkable effect. Bonny Doon Vineyards makes a very nice domestic verjus, should you find yourself in the market.
The other great thing about Goose Bourguignon is that you get to light it on fire. I NEVER miss the chance to light something on fire, as the cabinets above my stove will attest. It’s also a “one for the pot, one for me” kind of dish, since it has both wine and cognac in it, but you don’t actually use the whole bottle of either.
I mean, it would be a shame to let all that good booze go to waste, right? Don’t worry though, if you’re pregnant, all the liquor burns off in the sauce and you can save those remaining nips in the bottle for the next time you invite me over. Which better be when you’re making this Goose Bourguignon.
- Goose meat picked from 1 leftover goose carcass
- ½ lb bacon cut into lardons
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- ½ c cognac
- 2 c burgundy (other other full-bodied red wine)
- 2 c stock (I use goose stock since I’ve already made it from my goose, but duck or beef stock will do nicely)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp grated Meyer lemon zest
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp room temperature butter
- 1 recipe Verjus onions (see below)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a dutch oven, fry the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove it to a towel-lined plate and reserve. Add the carrots, onions and salt and sauté until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and stir for one minute.
- Being mindful of your proximity, add the cognac to the rear of the pot (tilting slightly if necessary) and light it on fire. Allow the flames to subside and add the wine, stock, tomato paste, lemon zest, and goose meat. Stir to combine, then simmer uncovered over a very low flame for half an hour.
- Mix the butter and the flour into a beurre manie and whisk into the Bourguignon. Add the Verjus onions. Cook for an additional five minutes while the sauce thickens. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve over gnocchi ( I used beet gnocchi here), noodles, or potatoes.
- 20-30 pearl onions, peeled (to peel, cross-top, blanch, let cool, and pop onions from skins)
- ½ c Verjus
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 1. In a small sauté pan, combine the onions, verjus and molasses. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and caramelizes around the onions. Remove from heat and reserve.