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by Caroline Downs

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The goose is cooked, final installment (for now) . . .

Posted 10/23/12 (Tue)

So, today’s GooseFest schedule includes the re-tooled, mid-week banquet Formerly Known As The Wild Game Feed. I’m still conducting my mild protest about this year’s change to the BBQ Pork Feed, but let me emphasize this: the food WILL be delicious tonight.

Have no doubt, the pork will be succulent and the potatoes creamy. The apple pies? Heavenly, judging from the hands that prepared and baked them.

GooseFest is in full swing, with a mix of weather, hunters and birds this week. I’ve seen the extra pickups around town, the unfamiliar visitors wearing telltale camouflage in the stores stocking up on sandwich supplies for the field.

The Chili Cook-Off is in the history book now, with GooseFest Hall of Fame member Tina Zietz’s team claiming a well-deserved victory.

Over 40 teams participated in the Two-Person Fun Shoot on Sunday, including some father/daughter teams that made me smile. I’m all for getting kids out in the field, especially girls, practicing their shooting and sportsmanship skills and perhaps taking home supper in the process.

The BB Gun Shoot was another success, with smiles all around based on some of the photos I’ve seen. Reports from the Goose and Gander Social indicated that event was a hit with a big crowd enjoying fine food, and Ladies Night Out had a full house as usual. The women who plan that evening know how to entertain a crowd!

Which brings us to today, with the BBQ Pork Feed and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, honoring Larry Nore. Come enjoy the meal and stay to listen to local hunting stories when Larry takes the stage. I couldn’t print all the tales in the feature story about him last week, so I’m looking forward to hearing more.

To round out my goose recipes commemorating the former Wild Game Feed, I’m sharing a favorite goose recipe I stir up fairly often at home, especially on short notice--Goose Fajitas.

You may never find this dish on the menu of any Mexican restaurant, but goose makes a fabulous, tender fajita meat.

Start with one to one and a half pounds of goose breast, again choosing meat that was properly handled and cleaned. Canada geese, whitefronts and snow geese all work well for this dish. You can even mix goose species and use up smaller amounts hanging out in your freezer.

For ease in slicing, I recommend using partially frozen goose breasts. Trim off any extra fat and remove sections of the meat damaged by steel shot. Then cut the meat into relatively thin slices or bite-sized pieces.

On a separate cutting board with a clean knife, slice a medium onion and one or two bell peppers into bite-sized pieces. If possible, use red or yellow peppers along with a green pepper. Set aside in a bowl.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet on your stove at medium-high heat, then add the sliced goose to fry. I season mine with garlic salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash usually.

Cook the meat quickly, keeping your eye on it and stirring with a spatula to prevent burning. Ideally, the slices are almost crispy without getting overly dry.

Reduce heat to medium or medium-low and add a package of fajita seasoning with the recommended amount of water, usually 1/4 to 1/2 cup. I’m not fussy about the fajita seasoning I use, but some folks have a preference and some cooks create their own. Use the amount of seasoning suggested for a pound of meat.

Stir the meat, seasoning and water until mixed, then add the cut vegetables.

You can saute the vegetables separately, of course, but I like to keep them a little more crisp and mixed directly with the goose.

Stir the vegetables and meat together until the vegetables are coated by the seasoning and adjust heat as you wish to cook the vegetables. For best results on my stove, I use a medium temperature and stir occasionally with a wooden or plastic spatula.

Cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the vegetables just turning tender.

At this point, the final touches are up to you. I slice fresh tomatoes, then turn off the heat and stir the tomatoes into the goose-onions-peppers mix until the tomatoes get warm. Other people leave out the tomatoes.

Serve on warm flour tortillas and garnish with freshly grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and picante sauce to taste. If any of the meat mixture remains, it refrigerates well and tastes great the next day.