What to cook for the New Year?
I’ll make a reservation right away: I won’t talk about how to cook any Hungarian geese, with all due respect to the Hungarian farmers. The fact is that such a task seems to me not quite athletic. Everything is decided there by the cultivation method. When the goose was overfed for the sake of getting foie gras, he spent his whole short life in the cage, his meat cannot be rigid by definition.
I want to talk about geese that most of their lives walked freely on the grass, swam in ponds and who began to feed intensely only when the snow fell, so that by the New Year they would gain fat and weight. These geese have completely different meat, it even differs in color, it is much denser, tougher, but also … tastier.
So, we are faced with two tasks: to bring the salt to deep, at the very bones, located parts of the meat and make the bird softer.
Only time can make a bird softer. Do you know how in some countries game is softened? The dead bird is gutted, but the feather is not removed and hung by the neck. The carcass fell, fell off the neck – here you have soft game.
I do not propose this to you, but please take into account that the natural processes occurring in meat after slaughter of a bird inevitably make the meat softer. The speed of these processes is directly dependent on temperature. But the higher the temperature, the more willing the bacteria work – the meat can go bad. Spices and … salt can protect meat from spoilage. That is, all the famous marinades with an abundance of spices, vinegar, wine and anything else are designed just to create an environment around the bird or meat, unsuitable for bacteria to live, but they themselves do not soften the meat, but simply allow it to stand longer meat before cooking. The exception is marinades containing enzymes, but this is even less athletic than the Hungarian geese, because it hopelessly spoils the consistency of meat, which, along with taste and aroma, is just what you need to save.
But salting a waterfowl is not such a simple task as it seems at first glance. Imagine a bird in cross section. The first obstacle to salt is the skin of the bird itself. Under the skin is a layer of fat. The tastier the goose, the better it is fattened, the thicker the layer of subcutaneous fat. Salt does not dissolve in fats, it passes only through thin connective tissues, so pork fat is salted for twenty or even forty days (if we are talking about dry salting and cellar temperature). And only under a layer of fat is what is required to salt.
But what if salt the bird from the inside? But there is also a rather dense film, under it are the ribs and the frame. How long does it take for salt to penetrate inside the thighs, for example? Or how does salt penetrate the breast through the thin, flat bones of the keel?
There is an idea to take a syringe and … Guys, a stream of juice will flow from each hole, so you know.
Once upon a time, I saw a way of salting a bird before cooking, when a rather steep brine was prepared – three to four percent, no less – and the bird was placed in a bucket of such a brine for three days. On any large bird, this method works flawlessly, but I’m thinking – where in your apartment is a bucket in which a goose or a turkey will fit, and where in your apartment is a cool place so that the temperature is about five or eight degrees Celsius? And do you have the patience for three whole days?
Therefore, I will talk about methods that allow you to prepare the bird faster, although not without difficulties.
For example, do you know why humanity smokes products? Think to give them a special taste? And no! The primary task that led people to the idea of smoking was to preserve meat, poultry or fish and prevent their spoilage. The taste of smoked came to love us later. By the way, in the southern states of India, meat is not smoked, so it seems to them even more disgusting than herring. And we have a different taste, which has developed over centuries of life in completely different conditions, and we like the taste of smoked so much that we have already started selling “liquid smoke”, which in itself is stupid, because it kills the original meaning of smoking.
Therefore, if you have where to smoke, if you have the opportunity to go to the cottage before the holidays and dig out from under the snow, for example, a smokehouse or a barbecue shop – this is wonderful. Pour boiling water over the bird, fill it with boiling water, repeat the operation several times. Put sterile gloves on your hands, lay the bird on an absolutely clean surface and rub it with salt and spices. After that, put it to smoke – the lower the temperature in the chamber, the longer.
For example, I used a slightly warmed stove for smoking. Inside the oven, the temperature was about 120 ° C, but it was constantly falling, and the brickwork had a temperature of only 75 ° C. I put alder and grape chips on the coals, the bird stood inside the oven for three hours, until the temperature inside its breast reached 64C.
I controlled the temperature with a thermometer on the knitting needle – look how juice and even a blood tree run out of a puncture.
It doesn’t matter – the bird is not ready yet, it is halfway to cooking. During the time spent in the furnace, the sintering process accelerated