If you love meat, you definitely have to make a good friendship with the butcher. I even invite mine to birthday parties, just kidding. Back to the friendship, when you establish a good one, they will always make sure they get you the best quality cuts, notify you of special offers and special meats, mine even gives me kitchen gifts I just love her and I am so hooked to this place because not only do they sell quality organic meat, they have customer service that I rarely find here. Yes I wanted to tell you about the goose story, last year when I went to this butchery to make my pre-planned Christmas order, she told me before you make your order I would like to let you know of some special meats that we will be having that I would like to give you on special offer if you like since you have been a very good customer through out the year. Of course, I said and what are these meats? I asked. We shall be having whole geese, young goats meat, venison……I was mainly excited hearing about the goat meat because this is meat you rarely find in this land. Goats meat definitely, I responded. But somehow she convinced me to get the whole goose too which I agreed to because I thought this was just like any other bird or chicken and I would simply just get it roasted or probably slow cooked. Then my husband was in for the venison so we 0rdered for all these. Cant wait to share with you how I prepared the rest but first the goose.
Okay first I must say preparing the whole goose for Christmas dinner was one of the most exciting and interesting new recipes tried ever, it was like an experiment in the lab. Because of the goose I added a new cook book to my collection, and there was no single recipe out there I followed to the bone, I just picked ideas from all I came across and I came up with my own that everyone loved. At first I had planned to prepare the goose in the slow cooker but when my husband picked up the meats, the goose was so big, a whooping 6.5kgs that it could not fit in my 6.5 liters slow cooker. So I had to change plans, I was kind of nervous how I was going to nail preparing this big bird for a number of people but I am glad all turned out well.
The bird was well prepared with the gizzards, heart, liver, wings and excess fats from neck stuffed inside. It was a great learning experience for me and one of the things I learned is that a goose is a very fatty bird. In the end I got myself about 4 cups of goose fat which is said to be a very healthy fat and is great for high temperature cooking. Let us move on to how I prepared the bird…
Marinading and stuffing the bird
Making sure the bird was well thawed, I woke up earlier that day and marinaded it for about 5 hours prior to cooking time. You can do this overnight as well to let the flavor sink in more as well as have a stress free prior cooking time.
Ingredients for marinade and stuffing (Can be adjusted according to size of bird)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large orange
- 1 large onion
- 1 apple halved and seeds removed
- 5 leaves fresh basil
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves fresh garlic peeled
- 4 to 5 tablespoons honey
- Cut off the wings and remove extra fat that may be on the neck and inside the bird. Remove the gizzards and other parts that may be stuffed in pre-prepared birds and place these aside in a pan for making soup later.
- With a sharp pointed knife, make slits and or piercings all over the goose through the skin, being careful not to prick deep into the flesh. To achieve this pierce through the skin at an angle. I made slits in very fatty areas and piercings in areas with less fat. This step is important in getting your bird done, crisped and letting out extra fats. Also for your marinade to get in well.
- Sprinkle the inside cavity of the bird generously with salt and pepper and set it aside. I did sprinkle some salt on the skin as well.
- Grate the zest from the lemon and orange into a glass bowl or pestle and mortar, add the cloves, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, garlic and ginger pastes, pepper , salt, thyme and olive oil and stir the ingredients well to mix.
- Spread the marinade above generously all over the goose with your hands passionately as if you are giving your partner a nice body massage, just kidding but something like that.
- Get the lemon and orange from which you got the zest, slice it into half, cut the apple into half and remove the seeds, then stuff the goose with the sliced lemon, oranges, whole garlic cloves, basil leaves and rosemary sprigs and cover up the goose by bringing the legs together with kitchen twine. The goose will be ready for cooking.
Cooking the goose
- The goose needs to be roasted in a pre-heated oven, so if you are going to roast it immediately after marinading, you must switch on your oven before you start working on it. The starting temperature is 220C on fan/ 425F then after 15 to 20 minutes reduce to 180C fan/370F for the rest of cooking time.
- To calculate cooking time, it will depend on the size of your bird. Click here to calculate cooking time for your goose.
- You need to place your goose in the oven on a rack over an oven dish that will collect the fat during cooking. Depending on how deep your dish will be, you may have to remove it every 30 minutes to 1 hour and empty it if it gets full with goose fat.
- 30 minutes towards the end of cooking time, remove the goose from the oven, empty any fat if you must. Then drizzle the honey all over the whole goose. Because the legs take longer to get ready, open up the goose legs as well and place it back in the oven to cook to the end.
- When the goose is ready, remove it from the oven and cover it with foil for at least 30 minutes to let it cool slowly that the carcass does not separate from the bones. Do not cut or carve it when it is hot.
Making the sauce/gravy
You can start making the gravy as the goose cooks.
- The neck, wings, gizzards(cut into small pieces) and fat from the goose. (If you like you can include the liver and heart too but I roasted these later separately for myself )
- 2 medium sized carrots peeled and diced
- 1 onion peeled and sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garlic and ginger powder (1/4 teaspoon each)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup apple cedar/ balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
- 2 bay leaves
- On high heat, melt the goose fat and brown the wings and gizzards. Reduce the heat to medium and add onions and carrots. Cook until tender and onions browned then stir in the flour the pepper, garlic and ginger and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
- Add the vinegar and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes while stirring continuously.
- Then stir in the chicken stock and bay leaves, reduce heat to low and let the gravy simmer until thick.
- Fish out the neck and wings and if you like you can blend your gravy to smooth up the carrots, onions and gravy. I did not blend.
Carve the goose into slices. I served my goose with dumplings and red cabbage with some roasted vegetables. I did not get to make the photos of the carved goose because as you can imagine this was a very exiting time for me to make even any photos at all. But my guests loved every part of it so we can say it was a successful experiment.