I might be a hopeless cook (OK, I am a hopeless cook), but I tend to follow user manuals and all kinds of instructions without complaining. Still, the page of instructions that I received in the bag with my goose from Plachutta Nussforf surprised me. “Warm up the oven for 10 minutes at 140 degrees, cook the goose for 25 minutes in hot air, then roast it from the top at 200 degrees for 3 minutes; warm up the cabbage in a pot at medium heat; heat up the sauce in a sauce pan; heat up the dumplings in a microwave with some butter (butter included)…” If it goes on like this, soon the instructions will start by saying, “get hold of a young goose, let the goose grow over summer, kill the goose…” The surprising thing was not even the time and the number of kitchen utensils required, but the fact that I had to prepare that goose at all. After all, it was not a sous-vide goose – just some cold undercooked bird in a box from a restaurant specializing in boiled beef. Is all this trouble really worth 26 euros?
Absolutely. I followed the instructions religiously and ended up with a goose I would not feel ashamed to charge a premium price for. The skin was crispy, like really crispy. All of it. The meat inside, on the other hand, was not tough at all. As if slightly pre-boiled, it did not stick to the bones but also did not have any fat or annoying lumps of cartilage. The cabbage was above average: not acidic but not excessively sweet either. The napkin dumplings – which are always better than the more common potato dumplings anyway – benefitted from the flavor of butter, and the thick sauce was perfect as well – at exactly the right level of saltiness and “goose-ness.”
I would have been very happy to eat such a goose in a restaurant; as a take-away dish, it was quite extraordinary. It made me think, however, of some other good but not great geese that I could have probably improved by warming them up “the right way.” On the other hand, those restaurants did not provide me such clear instructions, so if my microwave killed their geese, it’s not my fault.