Yekhnes (or yakhnes) are stews that take many forms all over the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. This particular one is a play on the Lebanese beef and potato yekhne, a super comforting dish often made with chunks of stewing beef or shank.
Using goose legs to replace shanks in a recipe is a good idea since, like shanks, they can be quite tough. Left to cook for a long time though, they become soft, unctuous, and utterly delicious. Since the geese you bring down may vary in age, exact cooking times become a little tricky. Older birds may need more time to soften in the stew pot. They will eventually become tender, no matter how tough they are, so be patient and keep cooking until they do. You may have to add a little extra water or broth if you need to cook it much longer than the recipe tells you to.
If you don’t have all day to hang out by the oven waiting for your stew, feel free to do steps 1-4 in a skillet, then transfer everything over to a crockpot to slow cook for the day or overnight. Serve this with a pile of white rice and Middle Eastern bread. Be sure to gloat about how good this dish was to your friends who leave their goose legs in the field!
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Lebanese Goose and Potato Yekhne
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 goose legs, skinless
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
8 cups water or goose broth
2 russet potatoes
- Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven or pot.
- Season the goose legs generously with salt and pepper, then add them to the pot to sear. Sear for 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove the legs to cool and turn down the heat to medium.
- Add the onions to the pot and cook for 8 minutes or so, until golden brown.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, and spices and turn heat down to medium low. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the tomato paste begins to darken. Be sure not to burn the garlic.
- Add 2/3 of the chopped cilantro and stir it in. Add the goose legs and the water/broth.
- Bring to a strong simmer, then lower the heat so the liquid is at a slow bubble. Cook for 3 hours, or until the meat is ready to fall off the bone on the goose legs (you could transfer everything into a crockpot and slow cook it overnight instead).
- After 2 hours have elapsed, preheat oven to 400°F.
- Peel and cube potatoes, then put them onto a sheet pan and into the oven for 30 minutes.
- Add the baked potatoes to the stew for the last 30-40 minutes of cooking so they soften.
- Dig out the goose legs and pull the meat off of the bone. Chop it if need be, then add it back to the stew. Discard the bones.
- Serve with a big sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Enjoy!