Editor’s Note: The Best of Bud is a compilation of some of the advice and recipes gathered by the late Ralph W. “Bud” Leavitt who retired as the Bangor Daily News executive sports editor and outdoor editor in the fall of 1988. He continued to write a weekly column for the paper until his death on Dec. 20, 1994. During his nearly half-century as the BDN’s outdoor columnist he penned more than 13,000 columns and one book, “Twelve Months in Maine.” He starred in his own TV program, “The Bud Leavitt Show,” which aired on the Hildreth Network for 20 years, and the nationally acclaimed “Woods and Waters” outdoor program on the Public Broadcasting System. While some of the folks Bud interviewed have died, their contributions and memories remain with us.
Few people know more about preparing a Canada goose for the table than Mrs. Stephen Powell of Dresden.
For many years, Basil L. Smith and I joined the late Steve Powell for duck and goose hunting at Merrymeeting bay.
Polly Powell never failed to make the experience an enjoyable one, even if the ducks were flying out of gun range or Steve failed to skull us into a range and a shot at a “Christmas Goose.” Come noontime, however, hunting disappointments dissipated when Polly called we three bohemoths to the table.
Her recipe, one personally guaranteed:
1 8-10 pound Canada goose
1 medium head of fresh green cabbage, shredded fine
8 firm, tart apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 lemon peeled, seeded and the pulp chopped
1 cup white wine
1 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon cracked allspice
1½ cup raisins
½ cup Madeira combined with ½ cup lemon juice.
Polly Powell says the secret to trimming the fat from a wild goose is to roast it for an hour in a hot oven before stuffing it. She claims the initial exposure in the hot oven will melt away a good deal of the fat, which can be discarded.
She seasons a goose liberally with salt and a freshly ground pepper, rubbing the inside and out with cut lemon.
Polly says there is no rule of thumb with respect to cooking time, but her way is a 475-degree F oven for 90 minutes.
Stuffing: blanch shredded cabbage in a pot of boiling water for three minutes; drain and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped apples, lemon pulp, raisins and toss lightly. She then adds herbs, allspice, salt, freshly ground pepper and a white wine. Toss and then stuff the cavity of the goose lightly, truss and place back into the roaster. Baste the bird periodically with the Madeira and lemon juice.
Bird’s done when it is golden brown and the leg juices run clear yellow when pricked with a fork.
Polly Powell, realizing she had three big eaters at the table, almost never took a chance of stifling an appetite. She served both rice and potatoes with the bird.
Rating: four big stars!