I LOVE CARROTS. All I want to do with my day is to roast carrots—and figure out how each variety reacts to different temperatures. There is a plethora of varietals, and each has its own unique characteristics. There’s the young Nantes carrot, crunchy and sweet, that you can’t cook too long or it loses its best qualities. Then there are large white ones that need three hours in the oven before you uncover the complex aromas and tastes hidden inside. I made this dish with Parisienne carrots from La Ferme de Jacques et Diane in St. Michel-de-Napierville, Quebec. This recipe is representative of the type of plates we do at the restaurant. Simple preparations made with spectacular local ingredients. —J.W.R.
- 1 goose breast (or moulard duck breast), about 400 g (14 oz)
- Flaky sea salt
- 1 goose (or duck) carcass, chopped, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 bunches of organic heirloom carrots
- 100 g (½ cup) salted cultured butter
- 1 handful dry pine needles
- 250 ml (1 cup) of lingonberries (or wild cranberries)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fennel (or other herb) flowers
Four days before cooking, pat goose breast dry with paper towels, and salt generously, coating it with as much salt as will cling to it without pressing it into the flesh. Place breast on a rack on a small baking sheet and transfer to the refrigerator, uncovered, for four days.
Pre-heat oven to 175°C (350°F).
Arrange bones in a deep non-reactive roasting pan and transfer to middle rack of the oven. Roast for 45 minutes (the bones won’t brown much). Add water to cover the bones, then cover pan with a fitted lid (or seal with aluminum foil) and cook undisturbed for five hours. Turn off oven but do not remove pan; leave to cool slowly for two hours. Uncover, skim broth, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming foam and impurities as they rise to the surface. Reduce by at least half until flavour intensifies—about 1 hour. Season with salt and set aside to cool, then transfer to refrigerator until needed.
Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
A few hours before serving, transfer goose breast to countertop. Meanwhile, divide carrots into two groups, by size. Combine largest carrots and 2 tbsp butter in a roasting pan and transfer to oven. Every 15 minutes move them around in the pan. After 60 minutes add the smaller carrots, and more butter. Continue cooking as above until tender, and set aside.
Preheat the outdoor grill (preferably charcoal). Over low heat, grill the goose breast skin side down for about 30 seconds, remove it to cool for 30 seconds, and repeat, until the fat is rendered and the skin becomes crispy—about 20 minutes. Scatter pine needles over the coals, occasionally (or with a gas barbecue, use a smoking box). Finish cooking the breast flesh side down for about 60 seconds, then set aside to rest under a tent of aluminum foil.
To finish, bring 250 ml (1 cup) of reduced goose broth to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, then lower. Add the berries and heat through (do not let them burst). Remove from heat, stir in 1 tbsp cold butter, a few drops of vinegar for balance, and salt if desired.
Slice the larger carrots about 1 cm (½ inch) thick and arrange 2 or 3 slices at the centre of 4 warm plates. Sprinkle with salt. Slice goose against the grain and distribute among the four warm plates, on top of the carrots. Add a few smaller carrots on top of the goose, douse with sauce and garnish with the fennel flowers.
Delicate and powerful, this wine complements the earthier components of the wine without overwhelming them.
For more info on these and other fine wines, go to Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits.