As first light of day turns the eastern fall sky to hues of apple green and teal blue, the sounds of geese, cranes, and ducks begin to fill the air. Quiet at first, the sounds grow louder as more and more birds chime in on the “morning chorus”. Then as if watching a count-down timer to the new year, the birds lift off with a deafening roar like a rocket launch. Wave after wave of lesser snow geese pass overhead. I can’t help but think that this spectacle resembles the seemingly endless flocks of passenger pigeons described in history books.
Lesser snow goose populations have grown steadily since the mid 1970’s. This, along with liberal bag limits and a spring conservation hunt in many areas, represents both a fantastic hunting opportunity and a chance to fill the freezer with lean organic protein. I feel very privileged to enjoy this bounty that is available to those willing to harvest it every spring and fall.
When hunting, I target young birds which are dusty grey in colour. The meat from these birds is mild and tender. When handling adult birds, I test to see how easily the skin pulls away from the breast meat. Those that skin easily and have a plump breast muscle will be suitable for recipes that don’t require long cooking times. Hard-to-skin birds tend to be old birds. Meat from the older birds is best used in sausage or recipes that require long slow cooking.
The Arctic Goose Joint Venture published the Snow Goose Cookbook a number of years ago. It contains many fantastic recipes for preparing snow goose meat. I recommend having a read of this book, as it contains a wide variety of recipes, as well as tips on hunting, preparation, and cooking of snow geese. [Note: I have substituted other wild fowl including Canada goose and Sandhill crane in these recipes with good results.]
A gourmet recipe that has become a favourite is Snow Goose Medallions [Snow Goose Cookbook (p.13)].Snow Goose Medallions
Barry Batsell, Brownsville, Texas
1 SNOW GOOSE breast
1/3 cup cognac
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup cream [for lower fat version substitute evaporated skim milk]
2 tablespoons clarified butter
flour for dredging
salt and pepper to taste
Mix flour with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly flour the sliced goose meat. Quickly saute in the clarified butter over medium-high heat. After having sauteed the meat, set aside in separate dish. (Do not overcook.) Deglaze the pan with the cognac first, then the wine. Once the alcohol is burned off, slowly stir in the cream. Cook until well blended and thickened. Pour over the sauteed goose meat and serve. [we serve it over rice]