Shotgun Chef, William Alldis, shows you how to cook the perfect goose this Christmas!
It’s now December and Christmas is allowed to be mentioned. And so, as far as I’m concerned, is the meal. This for me is hugely important because after all the presents have gone, what is Christmas if it is not family and friends coming together to enjoy each others’ company over a very special table laden with food?
My personal favorite for Christmas is goose. Wild or home-reared – they are both great birds and if you are lucky enough to be able to get out and shoot a big Canadian, Greylag or Greenland white-fronted goose, they will be a real treat. A pink footed goose tends to be a little smaller, so simply reduce the cooking times slightly, and serve it just for two.
Goose is an amazingly easy bird to cook, but so many people mess it up trying to over-complicate it.
Here is my simple way of getting perfect goose for your festive dinner.
- Goose (wild or domestic).
- 8oz of peeled chestnuts
- 5 slices of stale bread
- 2lb of GOOD sausage meat (go to a local butchers for the best quality)
- 1 large onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 bay leaf
Once you have plucked and dressed your bird make sure you scorch any little feathers you missed.
Take the neck of the goose along with the vegetables listed above and place in a saucepan. Cover them with water and boil with a little salt and pepper. Once this has come to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Remember to keep your stock pot topped up with water so it doesn’t boil dry.
While your goose is cooking, you can, after an hour or so, drain off the liquid from your stock into another pan and discard the vegetables and neck.
The stock you’ve now got should be reduced over heat by about two-thirds, then add around half a jar of good-quality redcurrant jelly, season with a little more salt and pepper, and, once the jelly has fully dissolved, place your stock to one side.
Take your chestnuts and finely chop in a food processor, then add the bread to make breadcrumbs. Add the sausage meat, and when this has formed a solid mass, remove this mixture from the food processor and stuff it in the cavity of the goose.
Place your goose on a roasting tray in a hot oven at around 220c (this is the middle of the top oven of an AGA, or most ranges, for around 1 hour). After an hour, turn the oven down to 120c (or the top of the bottom oven of your AGA or range) for a further 3 hours. You will know when your bird is fully cooked as the skin will appear to have risen away form the meat of the bird’s breast, and if you poke it with a finger it will appear to have a void under the skin.
Once you are happy, remove the bird from the oven, place on a carving tray, and cover with foil. Allow to rest.
Now, returning to your redcurrant gravy. Once you have tipped the goose fat from the roasting tin, the cooking juices should still remain stuck to the bottom of the tin. Pour the gravy you made earlier into the roasting tin and bring to the boil on a hob, stirring all the time. Once the roasting tray has nothing stuck to the bottom, and the gravy is reduced to a thickness you like, pour into a serving jug.
Now it’s time to get stuck into carving that goose.
Carving a goose cooked like this should not be done in front of your guests if you wish to look elegant.
To do it justice, you will be pulling the meat from the bones with your fingers to get every last bit of goodness from the bird.
With a sharp knife, cut the skin off the bird and keep to one side, then, using a fork (as you have probably seen in a Chinese restaurant with duck), pull the meat from the carcass and pull it apart using your fingers or another fork. Scoop the stuffing from inside the bird and lay it on the serving platter with the pulled meat. Make sure you don’t miss the meat on the back thighs and legs of the goose – all is great and worth getting off. Last of all, shred the crispy skin you put to one side with a sharp knife (it’s like goose crackling!) and lay on the serving platter.
Serve at table with roasted winter vegetables -let your guests help themselves and spend the whole meal telling you how wonderful you are!
For more of The Shotgun Chef’s delicious recipes go to http://theshotgunchef.wordpress.com/
Image: The Woks of Life via Pinterest