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Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Classic Victorian Recipe for Roast Goose & A Quick Class On Goose (Prepping, Cooking and Pairing)

Have you just served Roast Turkey on Thanksgiving? Have you been serving turkey every Christmas, every Thanksgiving and on any special occasion? Did you brine the turkey instead of simply roast it? It was very moist and delicious that way, but it was still Turkey! Have you ever found yourself trying to serve something new - trying to brighten up the dinner table with a new menu - but somehow ended up serving the same old turkey but in a different dress? We all have at some point! 

Well if you are looking for ways to bring new to your dinner table this festive season, then look no more, this is exactly what this blog is offering you this Christmas. I want to help you serve a whole new menu - with new recipes, less traditional ingredients, and fresh menu options to choose from. Hopefully this will help you find new Family Favourite Menus for special occasions . Rest assured that you are going to cook dinners that everyone looks forward to....

First, let's give the poor old Turkey a rest this season. It wasn't long since thanksgiving! Why not go for a different bird altogether? In this post I am going for this Classic Victorian Recipe of Roast Goose. I have served this succulent Roast Goose recipe, last Christmas, and everyone loved it. Everyone was excited about having something different, and the shower of compliments did not stop pouring! You are going to love serving this dish.

About Goose Meat
Unlike turkey meat, goose meat is dark. The meat is more boldly flavoured than turkey, and is even gamier than duck. Goose is also a bigger bird, which makes it fattier than duck. The meat is juicier than other meats, due to the fatty coating, which allows it to be served without a sauce. However, it can benefit greatly from the presence of sauce, and I personally find the overall flavours of goose meat to round up nicely with the presence of a fruity sauce.

Back in the day, old geese where the only ones used for cooking, which meant the meat was tougher and required pre-marination and even tenderising. Nowadays, younger geese are on offer, making for a more tender meat, that does not require a lot of prep. Opt for a 4 1/2 - 5 Kg goose, these are usually younger birds, whose meat isn't tough and won't require tenderising. Go for fresh, free range goose instead of the frozen ones as they are always more tender and better quality than the frozen ones, which are usually tougher. (see end of this post for where to buy in Dubai.)

The bold characteristics of goose meat ask for bold accompanying flavours. It has therefore been customary to accompany goose with the strong flavours such as: roasted chestnuts, cabbages (very popular goose accompaniments in Northern Europe), pears, sultanas, truffles...etc. are also common accompaniments. In the same effect, it is usually aromatised by pungent herbs such as sage & rosemary. The same also applies to pairing goose with wines.

Pairing with Wine
When it comes to pairing wine with food, the fattiness of the meat, the boldness of its flavour as well as the accompanying sauce are all to be taken into consideration.
In general, with fatty meats, it is preferable to serve a slightly acidic wine, as acidity cuts through the fattiness. by slightly acidic, I am not referring to vinegar, I am rather suggesting a wine with a fair level of acidity. The wine has to also have the right structure against the meat, so going for a bolder more full bodied wine is preferable over the milder flavoured ones.
Going for fruit-based sauces, such as apple sauce, usually calls for a fruity white wine as the reds can be overpowering to the delicateness of apple sauce. However, most people expect to be served reds with goose, so why not have both at hand?

Barbarelo Wine Tours
Common Wine Pairings with Goose

Basic Goose Cooking Tips
Because geese have a high portion of fat, they must be properly prepared to provide eating pleasure. Serving a goose swimming in a puddle of fat is not exactly pleasing to the eye nor the palate. The most common goose prep methods are: Some would blanch the bird for a few minutes, then prick the skin to release the fat. Others would ‘crisp” the carcass in the refrigerator for a week. Most would start roasting at 475F for 15 minutes and reduce the heat to 375F until done.

I find, it is best to place it over a rack fitted in a deep baking dish, where the juices drip off. Prick the breast of the goose with a fork to allow fat to escape, which in turn will also help in crisping the skin. I drain off the dripping fat from the roasting tin, at least twice during the cooking, and use these drippings to baste the goose as it cooks. This prevents extra dryness of the breast while the rest of the goose cooks. Not only will the basting make for a moister meat, but it will also give it a beautiful golden brown colour.

The best thing about draining the dripping fat is that you will have goose fat to use in cooking later on. It keeps well in the fridge and can even be frozen for later use, like for instance when roasting potatoes and many other preps that call for goose fat.

Allow 35-40 minutes of roasting per Kilo in a preheated 350F oven. Do not overcook your goose or the meat will be tough and not too pleasing to eat. If you own a thermometer then the suggested minimum internal temperature (from the innermost thigh) must register 165F. However, some suggest that it shouldn't go past 150F for best eating experience. Personally, with geese, I go the time/Kg method and it has never failed me. I always end up serving goose that is tender, fully cooked through without the livery texture of being overdone! I do however, know the exact temperature of my oven (use oven thermometer to know the exact oven temperature).

You can stuff geese with herbs, dried fruits such as: raisins, figs, or prunes. Dried fruits can be pre-marinated in Armagnac or Cognac or rum if you like. You can go for a bread stuffing. Try Rye or Multigrain bread for a change. The stuffing can be cooked separately and passed around, check out the stuffing balls in the Roast Turkey Recipe in this link. Other stuffings include, fresh fruits, such as apples, pears and even peaches and pitted cherries with oranges. Or you can go for vegetables, such as onions or celery.

Roast Goose with Onion & Sage Stuffing
Served with Roasted Apples and Onions and Apple Sauce
Serves 8
The onion and sage stuffing will pleaseantly fragrance the bird. The roasted onions and apples will add the sweetness factor to balance out the gamy flavour, and the use of the apple sauce offers a tart sweetness and an extra texture to compliment the crispiness, meatiness and mushiness from the rest of the ingredients. This is a dinner you will remember and one your guests will remember you for...

This recipe is based on the Classic Victorian Recipe, with a few changes including the use of Rye bread, the addition of apples and applesauce. The Rest is Classic!

You Need
4-5 Kg Goose (best fresh, free range)
3 pink apples, quartered
3 onions, quartered

For filling
1 Kg large brown onions
1 Large loaf Rye Bread, cut into cubes
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 - 1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

For Semi-sweetened Plain Apple Sauce
Makes 6 cups you can store the rest in a sterilised jar in the fridge for other uses
2 Kg Apples, cored and quartered
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

Prepare the goose,
Once purchased, remove all packaging and tuss. Usually a vaccumed bag of giblets is also included, remove that too, then rinse thoroughly to clean, and pat dry. Store in the fridge covered loosly by foil paper. It is very common to leave goose in the fridge like so for 2 days to slightly dry up. However, this is optional.

When ready to cook, remove the goose from the fridge and let it stand for 2 hours at room temperature. This will loosen up the fats in prep for cooking; kind of like butter at room temperature. Prick the skin with a fork and sprinkle with salt and black pepper all over. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Make the Stuffing
Roast the unpeeled brown onions in a hot oven until softened. Once done roasting, cool them, peel and roughly chop them. Soak the bread in just enough milk to moisten, then press out any excess milk. Mix the pressed bread, with the chopped onions, sprinkle with nutmeg and season with salt and black pepper. Add the chopped fresh sage and mix all to combine.

Stuff the prepared goose with the stuffing and close the opening either by sewing or by pulling the skin over the legs. Place the stuffed goose over a wire rack fitted in a deep baking dish and roast in a preheated 350F oven for 35 - 40 minutes per kilo. Drain off and reserve excess fat every 20 minutes. Baste the tops of the goose every time you drain off drippings.

40 minutes before the end of cooking, place the quartered apples and onions around the goose on the rack and baste with drippings.

Meanwhile make the applesauce
Place the apples, water and sugar in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the apples are very tender. You have to stir it frequently.
Once done, press the apples through a sieve and return to the cooking pot, add water to thin if necessary and bring back to a boil. The applesauce is now ready to use.
To store, place in sterilised jars and freeze for up to 8 months.

Once the goose is done roasting, rest it covered lightly with foil for 20 minutes. Then place it on the serving plate, with roasted apples and onions placed around it. Serve with the applesauce on the side.

Carving Goose

Hold the leg by the end knuckle, cut close to the body and twist off. Carve this leg meat. To carve the breast meat start from the outside working to the breast bone in the middle. Repeat for the other side.

In case you were wondering

Where to buy Fresh Free Range Goose in Dubai this Festive season?
I Love the simplicity of this centre piece and think it
will be perfect for your dinner table. You can use red
candles for a more festive feel.
I have found them in Spinney's - Springs Town Centre, Giant -Ibn Batoota Mall are also offering these. I know Carrefour did last year, but haven't checked this year, however they do usually offer fresh goose, duck, rabbit and Turkey during the festive season. It is confirmed by Sally that Carrefour have geese on offer :) Run, buy one before they are out ;)

Pure heavenly flavours of festive family gatherings!

Hope you have enjoyed this post, and that it took away a bit of goose anxieties! These birds are delicious, and this recipe is such a crowd pleaser, you won't go wrong with it. Do let me hear from you before you go, and don't forget to drop by again soon for some more less traditional Festive Dinners :)

Happy Festive Roasting to you all!