CROSSING A BOUNDARY of a Canada goose or snow goose is—let’s face it—a tough job. And the meat of some old geese will never be tender, no matter what kitchen magic you do. This is when your grinder saves the day. Ground goose makes a dense, flavorful filling for meatballs, noodles, or sausage. Just be sure to add at least 10 percent fat in the mix — lard works nicely — but ideally closer to 20. (Another option is a 60/40 split of goose meat and pork shoulder.) And grind it twice: once through coarse plate and again through the fine plate the plate gives the optimal texture.
In Japan, ground chicken is the base for an ethereal dish called meatballs Tsukune. We submerge the ground goose here for a darker, more pungent flavor, but infuse it with the same classic sweet and savory flavor foil sauce that makes those meatball skewers so addictive. You can cook them on the grill or in a pan. Either way, serve with some steamed rice on the side and the remaining dipping sauce.
½ cup dead
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sake
2 tablespoons. brown sugar
1 tablespoon. Balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced, plus 2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, sliced, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped ginger
1 tablespoon. whole black peppercorns
1½ pounds ground goose meat
4 chopped onions, white and green parts separated
1 beaten egg
1 spoon. sesame oil
1 tablespoon. corn starch
3 tablespoons. vegetable oil
2 tablespoons. toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bamboo or wooden scaffolding, submerged in water for at least 30 minutes
1. Make the sauce: Combine the first eight ingredients in a medium saucepan with a quarter cup of water, then add the white parts of the onions. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 35 minutes, or until the sauce is almost syrupy. Strain into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids, and set aside for later. (Refrigerate if not used within an hour or so.)
2. While the sauce is simmering, combine the ground beef, green onion parts, egg, sesame oil, cornstarch and two tablespoons of garlic and ginger in a large bowl. Salt and pepper generously. Mix the mixture until completely combined, then with wet hands form balls about the size of ping-pong balls.
3. Skewer the meatballs, three or four per skewer, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to harden.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. (If grilling, coat the grates with vegetable oil, then prepare the grill or coals for medium-high heat.) Cook a few skewers at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan, and turn when the bottom golden, after about 3 to 4 minutes. Cook for another 3 minutes, then turn the skewers frequently for about another 3 minutes, or until browned on all sides and cooked through. (Use a knife to cut and check to make sure they are done.)
5. Brush with the sauce and continue to cook, swirling the skewers around, for about 30 seconds. Place them in a serving dish and coat them again with sauce. Repeat with the remaining skewers, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
6. Sprinkle the skewers with sesame seeds, if using, and enjoy.
This story originally appeared in the Limits Issue of Field & Flow. Read more F&S+ stories.