Goose is a wonderful alternative to Christmas turkey – rich, densely-textured and succulent, it makes for a great centerpiece on Christmas day! It was the traditional Christmas meal in past times where a turkey was too expensive for the average family. In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the Cratchit family had a goose before Scrooge gifted them a prized turkey. Times have changed since then but it is still a traditional Chrismas meal and something special to look forward to during the festive season!
In my family, we always had a roast goose as the main Christmas meal – traditionally with spiced cabbage on the side. Hosting this year’s Christmas in our house I decided to follow French chef, Raymond Blanc’s recipe for a roast goose with very slight alterations. Raymond Blanc removes the legs from the goose and cooks them slightly longer to make sure that the breast won’t be overcooked. It makes the process a little bit more time intense but something I wanted to give a try.
When you buy the meat make sure to buy very good quality, preferably organic and free-range. Pre-ordering is essential as well so this is certainly not a last minute meal but needs a little bit of thought and preparation.
For this recipe, I have used a 4.5 kg goose (incl. wings, neck etc), 1 fresh bay leaf, 1 clove of garlic, 2 springs of thyme, freshly ground black pepper, pinch of sea salt, 50g unsalted butter 1 medium sized onion, 1 carrot, 1/2 a celery stick, 300ml hot water, 1 fresh bay leaf and 2 springs of fresh thyme.
Remove the goose from the fridge and bring it to room temperature before you start. Once that goose has reached room temperature pre-heat the oven to 150 C. Remove the both legs with a sharp knife.
Slice 1 clove of garlic, chop 1 fresh bay leaf and 3 sprigs of thyme.
Season the goose legs with salt and pepper and rub in the garlic, herb mixture and put them to the side.
Chop 1 onion, 1 carrot and 1/2 a stick of celery.
In a large roaster fry the neck and wings until they develop a nice light golden colour.
Add the chopped up onion, carrot and celery to the roaster and fry for a few minutes.
Place the legs, skin up, on top of the neck and wings.
Cover the roaster with a lid or alternatively with aluminium foil and roast it in the oven for 1 hour.
While the legs are roasting in the oven rub the breast with about 50g of unsalted butter.
Season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.
Remove the legs from the oven and increase the heat to 230ºC.
Place the crown on top of the legs and bones and roast in the oven for 30 minutes without the lid.
Turn down the oven temperature to 150ºC and add 300 ml of hot water, 1 bay leaf and 2 sprigs of thyme to the roaster to create a nice jus.
Roast for another 30 – 35 minutes until the breast reached a core temperature of 55ºC basting the meat with the roasting juices every 10 minutes to create a beautiful brown crust on top.
Remove the goose from the oven and wrap the breast in foil, letting it rest for 30 minutes. Continue to roast the legs for another 20 minutes before you let them rest with the rest of the goose. Use the roasting juices to make a sauce.
Serve on a big serving plate and gather your family around to enjoy a wonderful Chrismas meal!