In days gone by, Goose was the preferred choice for Christmas lunch in the UK. It seems to making a bit of a come back lately as people look for tasty alternatives to the now traditional turkey lunch.
Goose meat is darker and richer than turkey meat and there is more fat on a goose. Most of the fat comes out during the cooking process though. Goose fat can in fact be bought in the supermarkets in the run up to Christmas as many people use it for cooking. If you haven’t tasted roast potatoes that have been cooked with Goose fat then you’ve really missed a treat! Even though the fat content of goose is greater than other poultry like Chicken or Turkey, it is still comparable to lamb or beef and is a good source of iron and protein.
Although not the cheapest of meats, goose makes a delicious meal and is a really special treat. You can of course buy geese from free range farm suppliers or from good butchers. It’s always good to know where your food is coming from and personally I always try to buy mine locally to support the local farmers. Part of the pleasure for me is asking the questions about how my goose was reared and fed. Remember at Christmas time, you will probably need to order your goose in advance.
There are of course many different recipes to try but I find a simple roasted bird allows you to enjoy the free range flavour of the bird.
Remove giblets and excess fat from inside the cavity of your goose. The fat should be saved for roasting potatoes. Pinch the skin and prick it (do not damage the meat underneath). This will allow the fat to run out during cooking. Rub the skin with a handful of salt, pepper and dried herbs de provence (mixed herbs). These can smell quite strong but after cooking will hardly be noticeable. They do give that extra bit of flavour to the skin though.
You will need to have a baking tin with a rack inside it large enough to fit your goose. Place your goose in a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 20 minutes, followed by 2½ to 3½ hours (this will vary according to the size of your Goose) at 180°C If some parts of your goose browns too quickly, you can wrap them in foil to slow the browning process down.
Every half an hour you should remove the goose fat that accumulates in the bottom of the roasting tin. This stops it burning and filling your kitchen with smoke. This excess goose fat can be frozen or again used for cooking roast potatoes.
How to tell if your Goose is cooked
Take a two pronged fork or skewer and poke it into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juice that runs out is clear (no blood) then your goose should be cooked.
When you have taken your goose out of the oven, before carving, you should cover it with tin foil and allow it to rest for quarter of an hour.