To spice up our annual holiday feast this year, Danielle and I decided to accept a challenged posed to us by 2 separate friends.
- Challenge #1: Have a British-themed dinner
- Challenge #2: Cook a goose
We combined this into a British-themed Christmas complete with Christmas Crackers, Puddings and WHAM! on repeat.
As a side note – please be sure to order your goose, should you want to try roasting one, 72 hours ahead of your dinner. It seems that no one in Manhattan keeps geese lying around and ready to cook. Much thanks to Jeffery’s at Essex Market for working a Christmas miracle and finding me a goose in under 12 hours!
Chicken Liver Pate
Deviled Eggs (both recipes available in the index)
Roast Goose with Wild Mushroom Gravy
2 gallons water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves
3 gloves garlic, smashed to break up a bit
7 pepper corns
2 springs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp celery seed
1 tbsp dried onion flakes (or 1 tsp onion powder)
10-12lb bird – the largest one you can find
Note: Geese have a lot more bones and skin than meat, a 12lb really only feeds about 4-5 people
3 carrots, chopped into 1″ pieces
3 ribs celery, chopped into 1″ pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped into 1″ pieces
4 fresh sage leaves
A handful fresh parsley
Salt, pepper and paprika to season
2 cups stock, instructions to make stock follow, but store-bought chicken stock will work just fine
1 cup whole milk
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup dried wild mushrooms of your choice
A splash of white wine or vermouth
Salt, Pepper and a dash of garlic powder to season
1 day ahead
24 hours before you plan to roast the goose (roasting will take about 2 hours, or slightly longer) you’ll need to brine the bird.
To make the brine add 1 gallon of water to a large stock pot with all other brine ingredients and bring to a boil. The brine needs to be cool before you can add the bird, and you can speed this along by adding one more gallon of cold water. If you’re in a rush, you can add a combination of water and ice cubes.
Once the brine is cooled, add goose and refrigerate over night. If you’re lucky enough to have a huge pot to hold the goose and brine, by all means use it. If you’re like me, you’ll need to either buy a brining bag from a kitchen store (this is just a giant ziplock that costs $3.50), or you can double-up 2 clean garbage bags as a last resort.
I don’t recommend skipping the brining process, as geese have fairly lean meet underneath all the surface fat, and this process will help to keep the meat moist and juicy.
Pre heat the oven to 290 degrees.
Roast the goose in a large roasting pan. Make sure this is a pyrex or something with at least 2″ high sides. The goose will release up to 2 cups of fat as it cooks, and you don’t want this on the floor of your oven.
Remove goose from brine and rinse to remove stuck-on seasonings. Make sure you’ve removed giblets and neck from the cavity.
Place heart, gizzard and neck in a medium stock pot and save the liver for frying up with onions later on (this would be fois gras if the goose was raised differently). The liver is the flat dark-red squishy thing, larger than the other giblets…
Place the bird on top of a small handful of celery and onion to keep it off the bottom of the roasting pan. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity and stuff with carrots, celery, onion, sage and parsley. Truss the legs and tail together for even cooking.
Take a sharp fork (I used my meat fork as the table ones were too wimpy) and stick the goose all over, creating holes in the skin. This will allow the fat to run out and keep the skin crispy as it cooks.
Season the outside of the bird with salt, pepper, paprika and place in oven to roast. Every half hour or so, check the bird and remove fat from the pan as needed.
DO NOT throw out fat!!! Save it in a glass or metal container and enjoy roasting veggies in goose fat for the next few months.
While the goose roasts, make stock.
Add the ends of the onion celery and carrots left over from stuffing the bird to the pot containing the goose giblets and cover with about 6 cups water. You should have about a quarter cup carrot and celery odds n ends, and a half cup onion. Use the parts you would normally throw away, as you won’t eat these and there’s no use wasting pretty veggies on stock.
Add a few pepper corns, a bay leaf, some parsley stems, and one whole clove, and bring to a boil. (leave out any ingredients you don’t have on hand) Bring to a boil and cook 20 minutes. Skim foam if necessary. This will make enough stock for stuffing and gravy.
At the hour and a half mark, take the birds temperature. It’s done when a thermometer reads 165. Allow the bird to rest at least 15 minutes before carving.
Right before serving
While the bird rests, make wild mushroom gravy.
Place wild mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Soak a few minutes until mushrooms are tender and reconstituted. Chop mushrooms into small pieces and save the mushroom water for the gravy.
In a medium sauce pan combine 2 cups stock, chopped mushrooms, mushroom liquid, a splash of vermouth (sherry would be lovely too), whole milk, salt, pepper, pinch of garlic powder, and flour.
Whisk vigorously to combine.
Turn on heat and continue to whisk until gravy just starts to boil and thickens. As long as you started will all cold ingredients you will not get lumps.
Taste gravy and adjust seasoning as necessary.
1 loaf white bread, ripped into bit-sized pieces and left out to go stale overnight on a cookie sheet
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 cup shelled chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups stock
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with 2 cups stock. Mix to combine. The stuffing should be good and moist, but not soupy. Add more stock if needed.
Grease a medium casserole dish and press stuffing mixture into the casserole evenly.
Pour more stock over the top to get everything good and moist.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until top is slightly golden and stuffing has firmed up.
Serve with goose and gravy.
Desserts provided by our guests
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Steamed Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter
Our token Brit says delicious, though not quite authentic… Stay tuned for another try after my trip to London in February.
Our other new guest Nick was not deterred by lack of authenticity. After an early faux pas (filling up his plate with a full dinner on the first trip) he snuck in seconds, thirds, and even 2 rounds of dessert!
Happy Christmas and God Bless Us, Everyone!