November 08, 2022
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Simply put: A vertical cooking device with heating coils at the bottom that regulate the temperature of a water bath to a decimal point of a degree. It’s designed for precise, longer-term cooking. When meat is sealed and added to the bath, the pressure of the water and its consistent temperature slowly cook that meat for a juicy, tender, consistently cooked final product. For tougher cuts like wild bird legs, you can seal those legs and sous vide at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-14 hours and pull out an incredibly tender product with basically zero effort on your part.
And I think that’s the biggest benefit to a sous vide: The minimal effort required. As you’ll notice here, there are only four steps to this recipe, but it’ll make for some of the best Canada goose breasts you’ve ever flavored. (I also included steps for duck breasts). The second biggest benefit to a sous vide is the large window of time you have to pull the meat without overcooking it. Though this recipe calls for 2-1/2 hours in a sous vide bath, you could likely leave in for 3-1/2 and experience no difference at the 115-degree setting. This is great for us family folks and/or dog owners who always have something that needs tending to at home.
However, I’m not trying to sell you on this equipment. If you want to replicate this but don’t want to invest in a sous vide device, simply follow step 1 here then set your oven to the lowest it will go (likely 150 degrees) and add breasts to a small baking dish along with the listed ingredients and try to cover halfway with a dry white wine. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and cook for 30-45 minutes, until internal temp reads 115 (you may want to use an internal meat probe here). If cooking duck breasts, you’re likely looking at 15-20 minutes in the oven. Skip steps 2 and 3 (which pertain to sous vide) if using an oven and follow Step 4. Done.
Letting your meat rest will allow for carryover, which also raises the internal temp, while also redistributing juices so the final product is juicy throughout with each bite. The goal for this recipe is medium-rare (with potentially closer to rare) waterfowl. The quality and flavor of waterfowl decreases exponentially for every degree past medium rare.
Lastly, a note on equipment, a chamber vacuum sealer will allow you to seal in wine with the meat while a traditional external will not. Make sure you know what sealer you are using. If still wishing to sous vide but don’t have a chamber vac, work with a Ziploc bag instead (no sealer needed). I put MEAT! Your Maker’s chamber vac to work here, which sells for a little bit less, but still costs hundreds. It’s worth the investment if you plan to use for several years and put away a lot of meat.
Sous Vide and Reverse-Seared Goose Breast Recipe
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep time: Overnight
Cook time: 3 hours
- Two Canada goose breasts, approximately 1 pound each
- 6-8 large cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and smashed
- Dry white wine
- Two sprigs of fresh sage
- Two sprigs of fresh thyme
- Four dates, halved
- One shallot, sliced
- 1 gallon water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Bring brine ingredients to a simmer then cool and place in fridge.
- Add goose breasts to brine only once brine is cool.
- Brine for 8-12 hours and thoroughly rinse off breasts under cold water upon removing.
- To sous vide, place sous vide cooker in water and set temp to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place goose breasts in a plastic bag along with other ingredients and mix up thoroughly.
- Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup dry white wine and seal with a chamber vacuum sealer, if you have one, otherwise you will need a Ziploc bag. (You won’t be able to seal wine with breasts using an external vacuum sealer.)
- Make sure as much air as possible is squeezed from Ziploc and seal bag securely.
- Place whatever sealed bag (with goose breasts) in sous vide bath and cook at 115 for 2-1/2 hours.
- Remove breasts and pick off any garlic bits or herb sprigs (or any other ingredients from bag).
- Pat-dry breasts upon removal and heat a skillet or grill to 600-650 degrees.
- Sear each side of goose breast for approximately 1 minute each.
- Allow goose breasts to rest for 15 minutes before carving, preferably on some sort of grate so juices can drip down (so exterior maintains its crust).
Any questions or comments, please reach out on Instagram: @WildGameJack