Nigel Slater’s Christmas: roast goose, apple sauce, stuffing & gravy | Life and magnificence


I love the scent of a goose because it roasts, the candy savour of its meat, the lashings of fats it provides us to play with. The flavour of the meat is magnificent. By that I imply full, deep, wealthy and earthy.

It has been my Christmas fowl of selection for 20 years or extra, however it isn’t with out its draw back. Even the biggest fowl is unlikely to feed fairly as many as a turkey of comparable weight. The form, lengthy and stylish, means you want a big oven and an equally massive roasting tin. The fats that seeps out because it cooks, nonetheless scrumptious and helpful, is usually a hazard. It wants eradicating from the roasting tin rigorously. Another draw back is that, because the flesh cools, it corporations up, rendering it barely much less helpful for leftovers. (For sandwiches slice it very thinly.)

Traditionally, we pack the carcass with a stuffing of onion, breadcrumbs and sage. Fruit-based stuffings, supplied they embrace lemon or orange zest, are value excited about – add cubes of quince, pear or sharp apple to softened onions and recent breadcrumbs maybe, or dried apricots. There is one thing about dried apricots and goose that simply works.

The flavour of goose is magnificent … Full, deep, wealthy and earthy

The candy, wealthy flesh responds to somewhat sourness. I toss lemon shells into the roasting tin. Others stuff an orange up its backside. The meat of the fowl, served chilly the next day, will perk up on the sight of a gherkin or a vinegar-spiked dill and cucumber salad. I usually serve an orange or grapefruit salad with mine.

Buying the fowl

Get the proper weight. A 4.5kg goose will feed six. A 6kg fowl will feed 8-10. It is greatest to order it out of your butcher a superb week or 2 upfront. It will assure you a fowl, however may make the matter easier and faster.

Roasting your goose

Take the fowl out of the fridge the evening earlier than. You want the pores and skin to be dry if it’s going to crisp correctly. Ignore something you might have examine piercing the pores and skin. Allow 15 minutes within the oven per 450g, plus 20 minutes further. Some cooks like to put the goose on a rack above the roasting tin, however I stay unconvinced. You might require a big sheet of tin foil, if the pores and skin begins browning too shortly.

Cooking temperatures and occasions

As at all times, recipes and temperatures range from cook dinner to cook dinner. In my expertise, it’s all too straightforward to over-estimate the cooking time of a goose.

For a 4-5kg goose, my very own desire is for a excessive begin (220C/fuel mark 7), then an extended, sluggish roasting at 180C/fuel mark 4. Of course, it is advisable to know your oven and control the pores and skin. If it seems to be browning too quickly, drape a layer of foil excessive.

Draining the fats

You want a turkey baster to take away all of the fats that comes from the goose because it roasts. I don’t have to inform you (although I’ll) that the fats is copious and horrifically scorching. Please watch out. You can ladle the fats out each 45 minutes or so, however it’s awkward and probably harmful if it entails tipping the roasting tin. Far simpler to spend money on a baster and suck the fats up.

Resting the fowl

The important trick is leaving the roasted fowl in a heat place, lined with foil, for 30 minutes after taking it from the oven. It provides you time to make the gravy; however crucially, it ensures the flesh is juicier and simpler to carve.

Carving your goose

The route I take is to take away the entire breast first, a easy process of slitting the pores and skin alongside the breast bone of the cooked fowl, then rigorously prising away every of the breasts in a single piece, tenderly separating them from the carcass with a carving knife. You then slice every breast throughout into quick thick slices. It is a technique that magically produces way more meat than carving straight from the fowl.

The gravy

It is usually a sound concept to get it prepared the day earlier than. The in a single day sleep provides the gravy time to mature and mellow. Put a peeled and halved onion, a chopped carrot, the goose giblets (minus the liver), a handful of rooster wings, 3 cloves of garlic, a rib of celery, 10 peppercorns, a teaspoon of salt and three bay leaves right into a pot, pour over 1.5 litres of water and convey to the boil. Lower the warmth and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and put aside.

Peel and chop 2 massive shallots and saute them with an additional chopped carrot and a chopped stick of celery in somewhat butter. Once the greens are beginning to soften and have turned an appetising golden brown, pour in about 50ml of marsala, madeira or medium sherry, let it sizzle for a minute, then pour in a litre of the new inventory. Bring to the boil, then decrease the warmth and simmer for 25 minutes. You may have a wonderful gravy, skinny, wealthy and stuffed with flavour. Pour right into a bowl, let it cool, then chill it in a single day. Slowly warmth it up the following day and serve piping scorching.

Nigel Slater’s roast goose.

Nigel Slater’s roast goose. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Christmas Chronicles

Roast goose, apple sauce, lemon potato stuffing and marsala gravy

Serves 6-8
goose 4.5-5kg
floury, white fleshed potatoes 1.3kg
banana shallots 400g
olive oil 3 tbsp
lemon 1
rosemary 3 stems
thyme 10 sprigs

For the apple sauce
large cooking apples such as Bramleys 3
lemons 2
cinnamon stick 1
cloves 4

Remove the goose from its wrapping and place in a large, deep roasting tin. Set the oven at 220C/gas mark 7. Peel the potatoes and quarter them, then cook them in boiling, lightly salted water for about 10 minutes, until they have just started to soften.

Peel and halve the shallots, remove the roots, then unfurl the layers. Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan over a moderate heat, add the shallots and let them cook until soft and golden.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the dry saucepan, pressing down on them lightly with a potato masher or fork to slightly crush them. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon, then cover with a lid and let the potatoes infuse with the lemon juice. Reserve the empty lemon shells.

Sweet, rich goose flesh responds to a little sourness. I toss lemon shells into the roasting tin

Pull the needles from the rosemary and roughly chop them, then chop the thyme leaves. Add the herbs to the potatoes, fold in the cooked shallots, then season with salt and black pepper. Stuff the crushed potatoes into the goose. A few may fall out into the tin – no matter. Season the skin of the goose with salt, add the lemon shells to the tin and place in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180C/gas mark 4 and leave to roast for two hours. Watch the progress carefully, covering the skin with foil if it appears to be browning too quickly. When it is ready, the skin should be a deep walnut brown. (If the goose produces vast amounts of fat, and well it might, remove some carefully with a turkey baster or small ladle.)

While the goose roasts, make the apple sauce. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Put them into a heavy-based saucepan. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the pan together with the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and leave to simmer until the apples are soft. Remove and discard the cloves and cinnamon stick, then crush the apple sauce finely with a fork or a potato masher.

Lift the goose from the tin, place it on a warm serving platter and cover with foil. This resting is important. Carefully ladle out most of the fat into a bowl or jar, let it cool, then store in the fridge. Carve as below.

Place the goose on a chopping or carving board with a little foil underneath to catch any juices. Using a long, sharp carving knife, make an incision as close as possible to the breastbone, at the open end of the goose. Slide the knife along the length of the bird, keeping as close to the breastbone as you can. Prise the meat away from the bone and slice downwards, the blade of your knife tight to the ribcage, removing the breast in one large, long piece. Now repeat with the other breast.

Move the carcass on to a serving dish, then cut the breast into short, thick slices, putting them on a warm serving dish.

Cut slices from the legs, removing as much meat as you can, and serve.

Adapted from The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater (4th Estate, £26), the Guardian Bookshop’s November book of the month. To order a copy for £19, go to guardian or call 0330 333 6846

Nigel Slater from

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