Christmas is fast approaching and it’s time to consider what to have on that special day. I find turkey dry and a bit tasteless and a duck isn’t enough to feed the extended family, so I like to splash out and get a traditional Goose. This recipe, originally by Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson better known and the ‘Two Fat Ladies’, is my favourite.
Like duck the goose is a fatty bird, make sure you have a good-sized roasting tin to fit the goose and a grid to place under it so that the fat can collect without the goose sitting in it. Keep the fat for roasting potatoes, it’s high smoke point means that the potatoes will be golden and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.
You can also make the stuffing in advance.
- Earl grey tea
- 150ml Port
- 450ml Goose stock; made from the goose gilblets
- 4 Shallots; finely chopped
- 150ml dry vermouth
- 25gms Butter
- 3 tb Fresh bread crumbs
- 100gms Pate de foie gras
- 50 Prunes
- Goose liver; blanched, finely minced
- 1 Pinch allspice and thyme
- 5.5kg Oven ready Goose (with giblets, for the stock)
- Soak the prunes in hot tea (Earl Grey) until soft, stone them and drain, or get pre-stoned ones (it’s a lot easier than stoning 50 prunes).
- Place prunes, vermouth and stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for approx ten minutes until tender (if they are the ready to eat variety, be careful not to over cook).
- Strain but reserve the liquid.
- Melt the butter in a little pan and gently fry the shallots and liver for a couple of minutes, stirring all the while.
- Place in a mixing-bowl which is big enough to hold all the stuffing ingredients.
- Boil the port in the shallot pan until reduced to two tablespoons, making sure to scrape round the sides to get all the caramelised bits off and add to the liver mixture in the bowl.
- Beat the pate, bread crumbs, allspice and thyme together and combine thoroughly with the rest of the stuffing ingredients.
- Season with salt and a good quantity of the pepper.
- Gently stir the prunes into the mixture.
- Preheat the oven to Gas 7, 425F, 218C
- Put the goose in the sink and pour a kettle of boiling water over it. This ensures a good, crisp skin.
- Remove and dry with kitchen towels.
- Salt the cavity and fill loosely with the stuffing, then sew up the vent, use a big needle and butchers twine.
- Prick the skin all over but not the flesh, this will allow the fat to drain out.
- Place on the grid in the roasting pan and roast breast side up for 15 minutes.
- Lower heat to Gas 4, 350F, 177C, turn the goose onto its side.
- Halfway through, turn onto the other side.
- Then for the last 15 minutes onto its back again.
- Throughout the cooking, baste every 20 minutes with three tablespoons of boiling water and remove the fat from the pan into a bowl. The easiest way to perform both these operations is with a bulb baster.
- The whole cooking time should be 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Test by piercing the thickest part of the thigh: the juices should run pale yellow.
- When ready, the goose should be put on a very hot dish and covered with foil allowed to rest for at least 15 mins.
- Pour off the remaining fat from the roasting pan and make the gravy from the reserved prune liquid, adding it to the residual juices in the pan.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, adjust the seasoning, strain into a sauce boat and hand round separately.
To make the stock gently fry off the goose giblets, but not the liver (which you need for the stuffing), with some carrot, celery and leeks then add water, a couple of bay leaves and a Bouquet Garni. Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for a couple of hours. Skimming the surface to remove any scum. Drain through a sieve or chinois pressing the veg to get as much flavour out as possible.
Serve with the regular Christmas trimmings, of roast potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Maple roast Parsnips and Tom’s Mum’s Red Cabbage.