Goose Hunting photo
Goose Hunting photo


Today’s story and recipe come from Gun Nut blogger Phil Bourjaily. Maybe snow geese are underrated table birds after all.

In goose camp recently–the Battle River Lodge near Cornonation Alberta, run by Ameri-Cana Expeditions–chef Tim Birch made white-fronted (aka specklebelly) goose hors d’ouerves one evening from geese we had shot that day. We devoured them, then decided to challenge Tim. “Can you do this with snow geese if we bring you some tomorrow?” we asked. Among many waterfowlers, it’s conventional wisdom that specks are the best eating of all geese, while snows are sometimes called “sky carp.”

“No problem,” said Tim.

We shot some snows the next morning, and Tim made them into the same dish he served the night before. I would be stretching the truth if I said the snow goose hors d’ouerves were every bit as good as the same dish made with specklebellies, but it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration. Tim made two of these serving dishes full and neither lasted long. Here’s Tim Birch’s Goose Breast Hors D’Ouerve recipe. Try it, and you’ll stop calling snow geese “sky carp.”

2-3 snow goose breasts
1 cup orange juice
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp. garlic
1 tbsp. cracked black pepper

1. Make an orange juice-balsamic vinegar marinade by combining the juice, vinegar, honey garlic, and pepper.

2. Marinate the breast halves. (I don’t know how long exactly. We brought the geese in at noon and ate them at 7:30, so I guess somewhere between 1 and 7 1/2 hours.)

3. Heat canola oil in a skillet. They grow canola around Coronation, but that’s not why Tim uses it. He specifies canola oil because you can heat it to very high temperatures without the oil starting to smoke and scorch.

4. Sear the breasts quickly in very hot oil. They should be blood-rare inside. If they are so rare you are slightly afraid to eat them, they’re perfect.

5. Slice thin.

6. Serve with a dipping sauce. Tim used a local favorite, Sawmill Sesame Steak Sauce, but he said another steak sauce or mango chipotle salsa or apple chutney would work very well, too.