Why get a goose? The goose has relatively little meat, lots of skin, a huge amount of bone, and a very large amount of fat. However, the meat is very nutrient-dense and filling, and absolutely delicious when properly cooked. The crisp skin is even better. The bones and fat give incredible flavor to the meat, and have many uses of their own. We get so many benefits from every goose.
We had a wonderful roast goose yesterday, for Christmas dinner. But that was just one of the benefits provided by this most delicious bird. My ancestors would use the whole goose, for food and other purposes. So I decided to do the same. I was delighted to find how many benefits could be provided by a single goose.
The Christmas Dinner
We bought the goose so we could have a traditional Christmas dinner. The goose not only provided the delicious main course, but also contributed to the stuffing and gravy.
The goose was supposed to be naturally raised. I examined the liver of the goose. The liver was firm and clear, a sign of a healthy bird. The ancient Romans used to examine the livers of chickens before a possible battle. A clear liver was the best omen. I think of it as a sign of a healthy goose that will be nourishing and tasty.
The goose itself provided the main course, a roast goose. I removed the interior fat and set it aside to render into liquid goose fat. The liver and heart were minced, and reserved for the stuffing. The neck and other giblets were set to simmer in a quart of filtered water, to provide a stock for the gravy.
I stuffed the goose with a sage, onion, and apple stuffing, moistened with plenty of whole pastured eggs, using cubes made from sourdough spelt bread, and mixed in the minced liver and heart.
As the goose roasted, it released a huge amount of fat into the pan. I removed the fat from the pan several times, and saved it.
When the goose was ready, the kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma, and the crisp skin made it a most appetizing and beautiful sight. In fact, the goose looked and smelled so good we forgot to take a picture of it.
When it was time to make the gravy, I used goose fat drippings from the pan, along with sprouted spelt flour, as a base for the gravy, along with the goose broth made from the neck. Browned drippings from the pan were used to color the gravy and enrich its magnificent flavor.
The crisp skin and flavorful, tender meat of the goose were absolutely delicious, greatly enhanced by the stuffing and the very flavorful gravy. Goose is a very nutrient-dense meat, and very satisfying. We all felt wonderful after the meal.
Goose bone broth, slowly simmered to perfection over many hours, is one of the tastiest of broths. We also had a lot of meat and skin left over, as well as stuffing and gravy. I trimmed the skin, and a fair amount of the tender meat from the carcass. This would be used for a goose casserole.
The rest of the bones, including the wings and the wing tips, and the sizable carcass, went into a large stockpot for goose bone broth. I started the broth early this morning, and it will simmer slowly into the early evening, so all the nutrients and flavors will release into the broth. This will give us many quarts of delicious, nutrient-dense, goose bone broth.
Goose casserole will be for lunch. I will chop the goose skin and meat into small bits, and add it to the stuffing and leftover gravy, with some more liquid from the simmering broth pot until it is just the right thickness. The mixture will be slowly simmered until it is hot and tender, and will be delicious. I know, because I have done this before.
The Glorious Goose Fat
I rendered the fat I removed from the goose, which turned into a nicely colored yellow liquid. I saved this in a mason jar, along with the goose fat I collected during the roasting process.
Goose fat has many uses. It is great for cooking and marinating. It has a somewhat beefy flavor, and can really enhance the flavor of all beef, from steaks to roasts to pot roasts. Potatoes roasted or sautéed in goose fat are a favorite dish in many European countries. Goose fat is wonderful for sautéing any kind of beef, and is perfect for caramelizing vegetables.
You can also use goose fat to baste any roast meat, and it gives great taste and crispness to roast chicken.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used goose fat to treat their wounds, and reported it was very effective. The same peoples would rub goose fat into aching joints and muscles, and considered it to be a very effective remedy. I have no personal experience with this, but these ancient peoples used it for those purposes.
Cool goose fat is a terrific moisturizer, being particularly soothing for dry winter skin. It will make you smell a bit like goose, but is very soothing.
So as you can see, we got a great deal of benefit from our goose, and we will be enjoying the flavorful fat and delicious broth for some time. Our ancestors knew just what to do with a goose.
This holiday season, like all holiday seasons, is a time to give and receive.
Gifts are a wonderful way to express your appreciation of another person, whether it is a relative or a friend. Some people are impressed by expensive, fancy gifts. I prefer gifts that give a real benefit, and the price or status of the gift is not important to me. A gift that shows something of the giver is often the best of all. A gift that gives pleasure, and supports joy, is a gift I cherish, both as a giver and a receiver.
Would you like to give a gift that has the following benefits:
- Gives great pleasure to the person who receives it
- Gives great pleasure to the giver
- Creates a wonderful aroma in the home
- Makes the person who receives it feel wonderful
- Improves the natural functions of the body
- Creates a wonderful feeling of contentment and satisfaction
- Warms the body and soul
For me, this most magic of gifts is real food, skillfully and lovingly prepared.
The Most Traditional of Gifts
Many decisions are being made about gifts at this time of year. In modern times, we often think of commercial products like electronics, jewelry, designer clothing, and a host of other products when we are deciding what to give. Yet in older times, one of the most popular and appreciated gifts was that of food. Not just any food, but special foods that would not only be appreciated for their wonderful taste, but would nourish the body and soul of the receiver. These special foods were not factory candies and cakes, but some of the most nourishing and delicious real foods available.
Not only was the giving of special foods a tradition, but the cooking of those foods by a skilled cook was a much-anticipated blessing of the holiday season, and great efforts were made to have this happen. This was true for almost everybody. For the poor, the holiday season might be one of the few times they actually had grassfed meat or pastured pork to eat, or another special meat such as goose, or duck, or a capon. Grassfed or pastured meat, or wild fish, were the featured highlight of holiday meals. The traditional European holiday feast dishes covered such wonderful dishes as roast prime rib of beef, pork loin roasted with the skin on, rack of lamb, saddle of lamb, roast stuffed goose, roast stuffed turkey, roast duck, and many others.
What made these gifts unique is that they actually nourished the bodies of the lucky people who ate them, improving their natural functions and creating a wonderful feeling of well-being and contentment.
Traditionally, these foods were real food, not factory food, and were exactly the kind of traditional food our bodies welcome and thrive on.
It is true that many holiday foods were special desserts. But these were different than modern desserts. They always contained large amounts of saturated animal fat such as butter, lard, and egg yolks. They were only served at the end of a meal, when the eater’s body was well-nourished with traditional fats and other nutrients that protected the body from the effects of the sugar in the desserts.
GMOs, pesticides, and artificial chemicals had no place in these wonderful, traditional foods.
While you may not find much real food in the supermarket, local farmers and ranchers, and farmers’ markets often have wonderful real food available, including grassfed and pastured meat, and organic or the equivalent vegetables and fruits. There are some wonderful Internet sources of great grassfed and pastured meat. Three of my favorites are U.S. Wellness Meats, Homestead Natural Foods, and NorthStar Bison.
Give the Blessings of Your Cooking
Even the best quality real food needs a skilled cook. A skilled cook can turn the best natural ingredients into a feast that will provide great eating pleasure and nutrients to all who are lucky enough to share in the meal. If you can cook, the time and effort you put into making a holiday feast is a wonderful gift to all who eat it, and to yourself.
If you do not think of yourself as a skilled cook, I have some good news.
Cooking wonderful real food is easy, and simple. There is an old saying, “God gives us good meat, the devil sends us cooks.” The meaning of this saying is that high-quality food should not have its great natural taste overwhelmed by fancy and complicated cooking. The wonderful natural flavors and tastes of the food will do most of the magic for you. All you have to do is bring them out. The recipes I use create wonderful food, yet most of them are very simple and easy to use. Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue are full of simple recipes for grassfed and pastured meat that result in wonderful food, cooked in an easy and natural way.
I spend a big part of the holiday season planning and cooking the holiday feasts, as a gift to my loved ones. It is also a gift to me, as I also get to share in the feast!
The holiday season has come. It should be a time of joy, a time to celebrate. Wonderful, special meals have always been part of the holiday season, but an ugly new element has entered the scene in the last few years—fear. Every holiday season, we are barraged with fear—fear of getting fat, fear of eating fat, fear of indigestion, fear of getting sick, fear of cholesterol, fear of heart disease, fear, fear, fear!
We are told, over and over again, to count calories, eat low fat, substitute dead factory foods for the rich, traditional holiday foods of our ancestors—where is the joy in that?
All of that fear is nonsense, if you eat properly prepared real food. Leave the factory products in the supermarket, and buy grassfed meats, grassfed organ meats, pastured pork, pastured poultry, traditional dairy, wild fish and seafood, organic or the equivalent fruits and vegetables, real pastured butter, traditional fermented foods, and make this the basis of your holiday feasts. You will not only enjoy a magnificent feast, but feel much better after eating these truly nourishing foods.
There is nothing to fear about eating real food. Nothing.
The Joy of Feasting
Almost every culture on Earth has celebrated holidays by enjoying a special meal, or meals. The finest meats, fish, vegetables, and almost every other kind of food were carefully prepared by traditional methods, and served in quantity during the feast. Many of the best recipes were specially designed for the holidays, and served only at that time. The Christmas feast was so important in old England that wages often included a fat goose at the holiday season—so even the middle and poorer classes could enjoy a special holiday feast. Fear of the food was not even an issue for most of our history, and the feasts were cherished, looked forward to, and enjoyed, with great gusto. Feasting is one of the most universal and traditional human joys, and a feast should be an occasion for pleasure, joy, and good fellowship for all.
This joy is often absent in modern times, where carefully designed propaganda has convinced many people to be afraid of food, especially the rich holiday specialties enjoyed by our ancestors. Fear ruins joy.
Real Food Feasts Are Good for Us
Not only is joy great for human health, along with being a great deal of fun, but the traditional foods of the feast are great for the natural functions of our bodies. Often these meals center around special cuts of meat, poultry, and fish, cooked in a traditional manner with rich sauces and side dishes. If real food is used, we are talking about grassfed meat, pastured pork, pastured poultry, wild fish and seafood, and flavorful organic fruits and vegetables. We are also talking about plenty of pastured butter, pastured cheese, and the wonderful saturated animal fat that comes from the pastured animals. These foods are exactly what our bodies crave, and give us the nutrition we need for our natural functions to work at their very best, which leaves us satisfied and feeling wonderful. When we eat a well-balanced meal of real food, we are getting all the nutrition that we need.
Traditional foods that are eaten at this time are often especially rich in the nutrients that our bodies crave.
Even though many traditional holiday desserts come with sugar, the traditional forms of these desserts are loaded with butter, cream , lard, egg yolks, and other sources of saturated animal fat that help protect our bodies from the effects of sugar. And the original forms of the desserts contained far less sugar than modern desserts.
When we are eating real food, our bodies regulate our appetite by what we actually ingest, because there are no phony chemicals or dead foods to con our bodies into overeating.
Many people equate feasting with feeling bloated or stuffed. I used to, until I switched completely to real food. I have never felt bloated or stuffed since.
Our Holiday Feast Plans
We have four feasts during this holiday season: Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. We start planning the menus right after Thanksgiving, and look for the best real food we can find.
This year, we will have grassfed prime rib for Christmas Eve, redolent with the unique, mouthwatering flavor that only grassfed prime rib has, along with a plethora of delicious side dishes.
For Christmas, we will have a pastured goose, stuffed with a traditional apple stuffing roasted inside the bird, with crisp goose skin—one of the most delicious things on earth, gravy from the drippings, and other wonderful side dishes.
New Year’s Eve will bring a pastured pork loin roast, with a magnificent fat cap, marinated with Polish seasonings, roasted on a bed of apples, surrounded by roasting potatoes crisped to perfection by the melting pork fat, and many other wonderful side dishes.
New Year’s Day itself will bring another prime rib. Why two prime ribs? Since we eat only grassfed beef, we could not decide whether to get a prime rib from U.S. Wellness Meats or Homestead Natural Foods. Both have wonderful meat, yet the flavor is quite different because the plants the cattle graze on are quite different. We solved the problem by getting both, and having them on different holidays. Besides, a major holiday is a perfect excuse for the expense of prime rib, a cut we all love.
How much will we eat? As much as we want, no more, no less. And we will feel wonderful.
Where do you find the nutrients our bodies need in these days of industrial agriculture? We are given nutritional advice by the powers that be which is motivated by profit only. Food is not what it used to be. Hybrid varieties are developed for shelf life, not nutrition. Meat animals are fed unnatural feeds (as well as growth hormones and antibiotics) to make them fatten faster and to increase profits. Factory food has made it hard to get essential nutrients. Soils depleted and contaminated by pesticides and artificial fertilizers compound the problem.
My solution is to eat the pure foods of our ancestors, unmodified, raised and cooked in traditional ways. Eating this way has brought me back to good health and greatly increased my enjoyment of food, because real food tastes so much better. Many other people have found the same solution. Every now and them, research comes through that supports the real food way of eating, and science confirms what instinct and feeling good has already told us—real food is good for us, and gives our bodies what is needed to support the natural functions that keep us healthy and strong.
However, many people have turned to using nutritional supplements as a solution. These supplements vary widely in their content and purity. Let me put it this way. What if a substance was developed that would give the following benefits?
- Increases the metabolic rate
- Increases muscle mass while reducing fat
- Decreases abdominal fat
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Reduces the risk of hyperthyroidism
- Normalizes thyroid function
Would you want to take a supplement that contained this very beneficial substance?
Well, you do not have to. Various studies have shown that all of the benefits listed above come from eating food containing Conjugated Linoleic Acid, more commonly known as CLA.
The very best source of CLA is grassfed meat and fat, which are rich in this wonderful nutrient. CLA is a very useful nutrient that is used by the natural functions of our bodies to create all of the benefits listed above.
CLA is found in its most digestible form in the fat and marbling of grassfed animals. This is yet another reason to eat the fat on and in grassfed meat, and to get well-marbled grassfed meat, rather than the leaner grassfed meat.
The CLA from grassfed animals is not the same as CLA from plant sources, or in supplement pills based on plant sources. CLA is much more abundant in the meat of grassfed and grass-finished animals than in feedlot meat. Almost all meat animals are started on grass, but are finished in a feedlot, eating foods that are not natural for their species, such as processed grains, GMO-corn and GMO-soy, and a host of other things that were never part of the natural diet of any herbivore, often including such substances as chicken manure, cement dust, restaurant plate waste, and even plastic balls. Studies have shown that grassfed meat contains three to five times more CLA than factory meat. The fattier the grassfed meat, the more CLA it contains. (Source What Is CLA?)
Not only does grassfed meat and fat contain 300% — 500% the CLA of feedlot meat, the grassfed meat also contains many substances that promote the absorption of the CLA. It is not known whether factory meat contains these substances, or in what amount. It has been shown that feedlots can cause the amount of nutrients in the meat to greatly decline. For example, the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in meat almost vanishes by a typical stay in the feedlot. (Source Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products)
While CLA can also be found in dairy products from grassfed and grass-finished cows, I believe that grassfed meat and fat are the richest source, and the easiest to absorb.