Monday, December 3, 2012

Tea-Smoked Canada Goose

Tea-smoked goose may sound complicated, but it's really not. You don't need any fancy, complicated smokers to make this. All you need is a pot or a wok with a lid, a rack and aluminum foil-- and of course, the ingredients. (We used a tamale steamer and it worked just fine!) Depending on where you live, the only ingredient I expect to be difficult to locate is the Sichuan peppercorns, a.k.a. dried prickly ash. Just take a quick jaunt down to your local Asian grocery store, and I'm almost sure you'll find it.  
Traditionally, this dish is made with domesticated duck breast, but we got a couple of beautiful Canada geese from Rick's cousin Keith Brown in Nebraska; we knew we had to do something special with them. For many of you, this tea-smoked goose is probably a far cry from what you usually do with your waterfowl meats, but we still hope you give it a chance. After smoking, the goose breast will be delightfully infused with the delicate aromas of tea and rice. It will impress all your family and friends. We hope you get a chance to try it this season! 

Of course, we'd like to send our love and thanks to Keith for donating his kill to Food for Hunters. 

I do have something to confess. I burnt the tea the first time I made this. All the ingredients were burnt black. The entire house smelled terrible. Hey, we make mistakes too. I'm just glad we caught it in time to save the goose breast. Yikes! So the lesson here is... make sure your fire isn't too hot when smoking!

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: about 30 minutes
Ingredients:
- 1 Canada goose breast, skin on
- 2 tsp. of Sichuan peppercorns (dried prickly ash), seeded and crushed
- sea salt, to taste
- 2 pieces of star anise
- 1/3 cup of black tea leaves
- 1/4 cup of raw white rice
- 1 tbs. brown sugar
- 2 tbs. of cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- cooked white rice, for serving


This is what star anise looks like. It has a licorice kind of smell. 
The Sichuan peppercorns, which aren't really peppers. They're dried fruits from the prickly ash tree. Only the hull of the fruit is used; the seeds are discarded. If you get a few seeds in there, it's ok. It's not going to kill you. It's just too grainy for the palate. 

To me, they smelled very similar to juniper berries when crushed. 
1. Crush 2 tsp. of Sichuan peppercorns. That's me, sitting on the kitchen floor with a mortar and pestle in hand, wearing my Rainbow flip flops, just like how little Chinese ladies have been doing it for thousands of years. Not that I'm Chinese. Not that Rainbow flip flops existed then. But how hardcore ghetto is that?!

Or... you can just buy the kind that's already been crushed. 
2. With a sharp knife, score the skin of goose breast in a diamond pattern. 

Rub crushed Sichuan peppercorns and sea salt, to taste, on all sides. Cover and allow the breast to stand at room temperature for 1 hour. 
3. In a food processor or coffee grinder, grind 2 pieces of star anise, 1/3 cup of tea leaves, 1/4 cup of uncooked rice and 1 tbs. of brown sugar. Set aside.


4. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. When hot, sear goose breast skin-side down for 2-3 minutes.
Then flip the breast over and sear the other side for another 2 minutes. The point is not to cook the breast. You just want some nice color.

Remove from heat. 

5. Line a wok (or in our case, a tamale/seafood steamer) with aluminum foil. Scatter the tea mixture on the foil. Sprinkle 1 tbs. of water over the mixture.

Lay the rack into the steamer or on the wok. Then lay the goose breast skin-side down on the rack. 

Turn on the heat to low. After a few seconds, you should start seeing smoke. 
Cover the wok or steamer and cook for 15-17 minutes for medium rare, depending upon the thickness of the breast.

If you're using a wok, you may need to tuck aluminum foil under the lid to seal in the smoke. 
Once cooked to your liking, remove the breast and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. 
6. Meanwhile, mix cooked rice with chopped cilantro. You can make as much rice as you want. Follow the package directions. 
Slice the goose...
It's so beautiful... 
Serve the goose with rice. Garnish with sliced scallion. Sprinkle sea salt over the goose, to taste. Enjoy! 
Random Asian product of the week: Japanese soda pop... when you open it, a marble literally falls down from the cap into the bottle. Why? I have no stinking clue. Super weird. It kind of tasted like carbonated coconut water. Rick didn't like it, but I thought it was refreshing! (I also don't have any standards when it comes to sweets.)

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