Early-season goose hunting feels entirely different from the late-season goose hunting I'm more accustomed to. There is freshly chopped corn on the field instead of snow, and instead of trying to keep my hands warm, I'm worried about ticks. But the sound of geese overhead has my blood pumping just the same.
One major benefit of having fresh goose meat in early September is that the produce season is still going strong here in Virginia. In particular, figs are usually going gangbusters around the time we start dusting off shotguns.
A fresh ripe fig is an ephemeral flavor worth taking advantage of every chance you get. A properly ripe fig only lasts a few days, so eat them while you can. Combined with feta, mint, goose, and balsamic, you have a tangy, rich, and savory summer meal that takes less than 30 minutes to put together.
I like to make a balsamic syrup with some dried figs (you can use fresh if you’d like) to pair with grilled goose breast. It’s an extremely simple way to add a tangy and savory layer to any late summer meal, and it pairs beautifully with the slightly smokey notes of grilled goose.
I recommend scoring the skin on the goose breasts before cooking. This increases the amount of fat rendered while cooking and also helps you get super crispy skin. The rendering fat will cause small flare-ups on the grill, which give grilled foods their distinct charred flavor. This works particularly well with early-season birds because they usually haven’t been gorging on soy and corn like their late-season relatives. With less fat under it, the skin will crisp up faster than a cold-weather bird.
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- ¼ cup dried figs, diced
For the Goose
- Goose breasts
- Fresh figs
- Feta cheese
- Mint leaves
Also works with
- To make the syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, heat over medium heat, and stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until syrup is thick enough to coat a spoon. Strain solids from syrup before use.
- Preheat the grill to 375°F.
- Season goose breast with salt and pepper. Cook skin side up, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes, flip and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches about 125°F.
- Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
- Slice the goose breast thinly, across the grain. Serve with the figs, feta, and mint. Finish with a generous drizzle of the fig-balsamic syrup.