Goose soup with Jacobs dumplings

Back in 2014 we celebrated our first Christmas in Saltaire. We decided to have a small, quiet Christmas day with my parents around our new kitchen table to really make the house feel like home.

On boxing day, I was left with a mountain of painting and decorating to ascend and the carcass and scraps from the previous day’s roast goose. Remembering our recent winter trip to Budapest where we ate our weight in goose-based delights I settled on a boxing day supper of goose broth.

This is an ideal solution for leftover goose meat which after a day can be drier and more challenging to transform into a new dish than other Christmas staples like turkey, ham or beef. The broth is dotted with torn nuggets of beautiful goose breast and leg, a few simple carrots or turnips, fresh parsley and a few perfect, white dumplings.

Inspired by the Jewish Matzo ball soup we enjoyed in various guises whilst in Budapest these dumplings put to work another leftover ingredient, this time from the cheese board, Jacob’s cream crackers. Although probably a sin to purists and those who grew up with the big blue boxes of Matzo crackers I find them to be a perfect substitute and truly delicious when mixed with a little goose fat, salt and egg.

It may be too late for your left over bird should it have been transformed into stock, curry or perhaps a Christmas pie but this recipe can be easily adapted and made throughout winter with a range of different leftovers rom Chicken to Guinea Fowl, partridge to pigeon – the choice is yours. Enjoy.

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Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 goose carcass, stripped of meat
  • 200g of goose trimmings from the leg or breast
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • 2 large celery sticks, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic in their skin, lightly bashed
  • small handful of thyme sprigs
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 glass white wine or sherry
  • olive oil
  • sea salt for seasoning the broth
  • 4 peppercorns
  • fresh black pepper

for the dumplings

  • 1.5 cups blitzed cream crackers
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of goose fat
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

GOOSE SOUP WITH JACOBS DUMPLINGS

  1. Pre heat your oven to 190°c. Take a large, deep stockpot or roasting tray. Break up the goose carcass into pieces as small as you can manage and add them to your pot or tray. Add the thyme, garlic, onions, 2 carrots, leek and celery. Drizzle with a minimal amount of oil and toss to coat. Roast uncovered for 40 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the oven and fill to the brim with cold water. Reserving the leaves, tie the parsley stalks with a string or band and add to the pot. Add the pepper corns. Place on a high heat until simmering. As the water heats, use a spoon to skim impurities as they rise to the surface. Repeat this skimming from time to time as you go through the rest of the cooking process.
  3. Once simmering, leave to cook slowly for 4-5 hours, topping up the water from time to time.
  4. Meanwhile, make your dumplings, combine the blitzed crackers, goose fat, salt, egg and baking powder in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. You want the consistency of a loose paste and might need to add more cracker or fat to achieve this. Leave the mixture to firm up a little in the fridge for 2 hours.
  5. About an hour before you’re ready to serve, strain the soup through a colander then a sieve then boil to reduce to a more full bodied consistency, just enough to fill four bowls.
  6. Bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer. Remove the dumpling mixture from the fridge and using wet hands and a teaspoon form into balls the size of large marbles, adding them to the pan as you go. They will likely sink so using a spoon gently ease them up from the pan bottom so they float. Simmer them gently for 25 minutes, turning gently from time to time.
  7. Peel and slice your carrots, adding them with the goose meat and simmer gently until tender. Divide the goose meat, carrots and dumplings between bowls and then pour over the hot broth. Serve at once with crusty bread and winter leaf salad.

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