We are genuinely lucky to be such good friends with Dylan and Nathan, who operate an heirloom poultry and vegetable operation in Bellville, Ohio, called Ester Run Farm. Dylan’s lifelong passion for the garden and his chickens and his waterfowl are so apparent every time you talk to him. He’s emphatic and encyclopedic and I just love to listen and learn.
I had the pleasure of cooking a chicken, duck, and goose all in a day this summer with Dylan. The three birds we cooked were raised on his farm. His beak to tail feather way of butchering and preparing the birds left absolutely nothing to waste and yielded so much excellent food.
We began by butchering a chicken – an older Colored Dorking, a cull from Dylan’s breeding flock of these classic English hens. I’m lucky to also get some of these culls for our own laying flock now and then. His hens who aren’t National Poultry Show material but still lay and look beautiful come hang out at Old Slate Farm. (fun fact: The National Poultry Show is held in Columbus, Ohio every November that isn’t during a global pandemic, and it’s exciting and fascinating to attend. I highly recommend) We prepared the liver, along with some other livers Dylan had saved up to make a beautiful Pâté. He quartered the chicken and prepared a beautiful Coq au vin Blanc (a French dish: chicken with white wine), saving the carcass for the stockpot.
Next, Dylan butchered a Saxony duck, an English breed of meat duck. The duck was prepared in 6 ways – he rendered the excess skin and fat, frying up those little bits until we were left with cracklings floating in gorgeous duck fat (we called them ‘QUACKLINS and thought we were genuinely hilarious). We put the legs and thighs in a roaster with fresh grapes and herbs, the breasts pan fried and paired with simple boiled potatoes and a cherry + port wine sauce. The rest of the carcass into another stock pot.
After all of that amazing cookery, we were a bit tired but remembered we still had this goose to contend with. Although we were pretty full of both food and wine, we are both rather the stubborn and determined type – we set aside a day to cook a chicken, duck, and goose….and damnit if we weren’t going to get it done.
So, Dylan added the goose legs to the rendered duck fat for a confit, and whipped up a stunning roasted goose breast, the recipe which I shall share with you now…
Spiced Roasted Goose Breast
1 Ester Run Farm Buff Toulouse Goose Breast
2 oranges, zested and quartered
2 lemons, zested and quartered
5 whole star anise
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp szechuan peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 of a cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tsp salt
SUGGESTED WINE PAIRINGS
Medium-dry Riesling, Richter Estate Riesling, Mosel, DE $16.99
Light Pinot Noir, Joseph Drouhin Chorey Les Beaune, $25.99