I have spent many Christmases over the years in deepest South Devon. We often used to have goose instead of turkey because a lady at a nearby farm would fatten one up for us. A goose seems more traditional and old-fashioned than turkey and it usually has a stronger flavour. It’s a good change, anyway.
Just as with turkey, an interesting stuffing makes all the difference to the festive bird. If you have already decided to have turkey for Christmas, this stuffing would also do well for it. Remember to stuff the bird and get it ready for roasting the night before. Bread sauce, made with brown bread and added cream, is as good with goose as it is with turkey. To work out how many people a goose will feed, allow
To make the stuffing, first cut the apricots up roughly and soak them in water for an hour or two. Remove the giblets and lumps of fat from the inside of the goose. Then chop the goose liver up into small pieces. Peel the garlic and ginger and chop together finely. Peel and core the apples and chop them fairly small. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, ginger and ground coriander and stir around for a minute or so. Add the chopped liver and toss around for 2-3 minutes. Then add the chopped apples and well-drained apricots and stir around for 3-5 minutes, until the apples are just soft but not broken up. Stir in the grated orange rind, season with cayenne pepper and salt to taste and remove from the heat. Turn the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool.
When cool, stir in the breadcrumbs and the whisked egg. Spoon the stuffing into the neck cavity of the goose. Skewer the neck skin to the back of the bird to enclose it. If there is any stuffing left over, spoon it into the body cavity or into a small covered casserole dish. Now you can leave the goose in a cold place until you are ready to cook it.
About 45 minutes before the goose has finished cooking, pour as much fat as possible from the pan, leaving any juices behind. (You can pour this fat into another roasting pan now and roast some fully boiled potatoes, cut up rather small, in it at the very top of the oven above the goose.) Turn the goose over so it is breast-side up.
Stir the caster sugar into the soy sauce and brush this mixture all over the goose. Pour the orange juice, apple juice and lemon juice into the roasting pan with the goose and put it back into the oven without any foil for 15-20 minutes, until the bird is richly browned. Transfer the goose to a carving board, bubble the juices in the pan fiercely for 1-3 minutes until slightly reduced and then pour into a gravy jug to serve with the bird.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.