Seasoning a Goose under the Skin

This is a very interesting piece in Cgm 384 II:

30 Filled Geese

Again take a goose as before, or one that is older, and prepare it. Grasp it (begriff die) between skin and flesh as you do a chicken and take garlic and bacon and pepper, pound that, fill it with this, and roast it very well.

31 A Filling for a Goose

A filling for a goose: Grasp (begriff – as above) a goose and fill it with garlic, pounded bacon, and pepper. Also prepare a filling of juniper berries, bacon, and eggs and a little bread and spices. Also use bacon, green pears, and juniper berries, and chopped parsley or onions.

Stuffing seasonings under the skin of a bird to be roasted is an interesting take and potentially very tasty. I first encountered the technique in the Liber de Coquina:

The filling under the crisp skin, meat underneath.

22. Another way : If you wish to fill a hen between the skin and the meat, take a live hen and open the skin near the neck so that you make there a single opening which wind (ventus) may enter.
Afterwards, take a small tube (
fistulam) made from straw (?paleis) or a feather: and through this tube, through said opening the hen is filled with wind so that the whole hen is (inflated) through and through between the skin and the flesh, all the way to the wings and hips, as much as you can. Then, you kill the hen and pluck it with hot water. Then it remains inflated because of the wind.
Afterwards, take good fresh fat pork, parsley, and good ground spices and aromatic herbs, and cut them all very small with a knife on the table or grind them in a mortar. And afterwards, you mix them together with a good quantity of raw eggs and grated cheese.
Afterwards, take the hen and insert a finger into the opening by the neck so that you carefully (
subtiliter) separate the skin and the meat. And through that opening, you fill the aforesaid martorolium or mixture into the whole chicken between skin and meat. Afterwards, you carefully sew shut the aforesaid opening with needle and thread. And you put it on a spit to roast.

I doubt anyone ever actually did it this way – it certainly seems gratuitously cruel and impractical – but the procedure once the chicken is dead is described fairly well here. I used it on a safely dead and plucked roasting chicken a while ago. It is surprisingly easy to detach the skin from the flesh even if you do not blow into it, and the resulting cavity holds a larger amount of stuffing than you would think. After roasting, the skin comes out very crisp and the meat juicy and flavourful.

I would really like to try this out with a goose if I can find volunteers to test-eat it with me. Garlic, bacon and pepper sounds especially well suited.

Bound together with medicinal, veterinary, and magical texts, the culinary recipes of Munich Cgm 384 were partly published in 1865 as “Ein alemannisches Büchlein von guter Speise“. The manuscript dates to the second half of the fifteenth century. My translation follows the edition by Trude Ehlert in Münchner Kochbuchhandschriften aus dem 15. Jahrhundert, Tupperware Deutschland, Frankfurt 1999, which includes the first section of recipes not published earlier.

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