Note: chicken or other poultry would work just fine for this recipe – I used goose because I had some in the freezer, and when I got it out I had to remove the skin – hence the bacon draped over the pieces. The sauce is quite punchy and could take pretty much as many chicken drumsticks as you could fit in a roasting tray!
- Chop around ten cumquats in half (cross-cut, not through the stem end) and put in a large hob-safe roasting tray.
- Chop a whole bulb of garlic across the cloves the same way and put in the pan face down.
- Add a handful of chopped dates, a stick of cinnamon and a few star anise.
- Arrange the pieces of goose or other poultry on top of the fruit and spices, pour over enough chicken stock to cover the cumquats (it’s best for them to stew more than roast), add a couple of spoonfuls of honey and season well with salt. (If using a bought chicken stock be mindful of the salt content of it when seasoning the goose and pan.) Drape over some rashers of streaky bacon.
- Roast in a slow (100-120c) oven for a few hours, adding a little more stock or water if pan dries out, and turning the pieces of meat periodically. (A true braise has pieces of meat partially submerged, so you get a combination of the best elements of stewing and roasting.)
- When the meat is cooked, transfer it to a plate to rest. Put the tray on the hob/hotplate on a medium heat, and add brown sugar to balance the sauce – it should be a bit sour, bitter and sweet, but also a bit salty as it’s a savoury sauce. The dates should both sweeten the sauce and also thicken it a little as they break down in the oven, but if the sauce is a little runny reduce it until it’s thick and rich. Cumquats are like little sour-bombs – the sauce ideally will be slightly sweeter than it needs to be to balance the sourness when you eat one of the whole cumquats.
Serve with something to soak up the sauce – the flavours will match well with either mash (I used a potato, carrot and parsnip combo) but also with rice. The richness of the sauce benefits from something green like plain steamed broccoli.