It just so happens that in the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' song, day six is 'Six Geese-a-Laying', so it seems apposite to present a goose dish for you today.
Before Charles Dickens, it was the goose that used to be the centrepiece of the Christmas table. And though many of Dickens' tales mention the Christmas goose, and the goose club, Dickens was instrumental in popularizing turkey as the central bird for Christmas.
This is a shame really, as goose is a much tastier bird. Today's geese are also much less fatty than their antecedents of yore. So this recipe is part of my attempt at putting the goose back in pride of place for the Christmas table.
Here you can find a link to all the Christmas and all the other Twelve Days of Christmas recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.
Spiced Roast GooseServes: 6–8
Ingredients:1l (4 cups) water
150ml (2/3 cup) soy sauce
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
5kg (12lb) goose
1 tbsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or groundnut oil)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp anise seeds
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground sichuan peppercorns
1/4 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp runny honey
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tbsp ice cold water
Method:Mix together 500ml (2 cups) water with the soy sauce, celery, onion and brown sugar in a pan. Brig the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 12 minutes, or until the celery is tender. During this time, stir the mixture constantly. Take off the heat and set aside until coole to room temperature.
Once cold, pour the marinade mixture into a large plastic bag.
Wash and dry the goose, removing any excess fat from the body cavity. Add to the bag with the marinade then seal the bag and turn a few times to coat the goose evenly. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for 6 hours, turning frequently during this time.
Drain the goose, discarding any excess marinade. Season the body cavity of the goose with salt and black pepper, then rub the outside of the goose with oil. Mix together all the spices and rub over the outside of the bird.
Arrange the goose on a rack set in a roasting tin. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160ºC (325ºF) and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, combine the vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, the honey, Worcestershire sauce and the remaining water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, reduce to a boil and cook until the volume has reduced by half.
When the goose is removed from the oven, baste generously with the honey mixture then sprinkle the skin lightly with sea salt (this helps to crisp it).
Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Baste with the pan juices then cover the bird and cook for roast for 55 minutes per kg (25 minutes per pound), basting frequently with the pan juices to prevent the bird from drying out. If your bird looks in danger of drying out, cover with slices of bacon for the final 30 minutes of cooking (these will help keep the breast moist).
When done, check that the meat juices run clear by piercing in the thickest part of the thigh an ensuring the juices run clear. Remove the fowl from the oven, set on a warmed plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving and serving.
During this time, prepare a gravy from the pan juices. Strain the pan juices into a bowl, skim the surface and discard the upper layer of fat. Pour the juices from the bowl into a saucepan then heat gently. Whisk together the cornflour and wate to form a slurry. Whisk this slurry into the pan juices. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
Serve the goose carved and accompany with the spiced gravy.
If you would like to learn more about how to roast various meats to perfection, see the Celtnet Guide to Roasting Meats page.