Traditional Michaelmas Goose with all the Trimmings

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Main course - Serves

    four

Appears in

Loose Birds & Game

Loose Birds & Game

By Andrew Pern

Published 2010

  • About

‘EAT A GOOSE ON MICHAELMAS DAY, WANT NOT FOR MONEY ALL YEAR!’

IT WAS ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT EATING GOOSE ON 29TH SEPTEMBER, THE FEAST OF ST MICHAEL, WOULD BRING YOU GOOD FORTUNE FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. GREEN GEESE, FED IN THE FIELDS, WERE USED RATHER THAN THE FATTER CHRISTMAS BIRD, AND ARE TRADITIONALLY GARNISHED WITH APPLES, DUE TO THE AMOUNT OF WINDFALLS AROUND AT THIS TIME OF YEAR.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours

Ingredients

For the Goose

  • 1 × 4-5 kg goose
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp mixed allspice
  • seasoning

For the Bread Sauce

  • 4 slices of bread, white and crushed
  • a good pinch of mixed ground spice
  • 1 white onion shredded with fresh whole cloves
  • 400 ml milk
  • seasoning

For the Apples

  • 4 small eating apples
  • a little allspice
  • a little unsalted butter

For the Forcemeat

  • 150 g sausagemeat
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garden sage, chopped
  • 50 g onion, finely diced
  • grated zest of half an orange

For the Gravy

  • 50 ml cider
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • seasoning

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.

To Prepare the Goose

First prick the skin gently all over with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife. Cover with a little runny honey and sprinkle over the allspice and seasoning, then place on a cooking rack or trivet in a deep roasting tray (as the amount of fat that comes out of the meat is amazing: beware!) Place in the oven allowing 20 to 25 minutes per, ½ kg plus an extra 20 minutes to make sure, so around 2½ to 3 hours in total. When cooked, take care when removing from the oven due to the amount of fat – it’s worth taking care of as it makes wonderful roast potatoes. You can even rub it on your chest or use it to keep your harnesses and saddlery supple!

Cut the tops off a third of the way down the apples, sprinkle with a little allspice, add a smidge of unsalted butter, and then replace the tops. Combine all of the forcemeat ingredients together, then form into 4cm balls, slightly flattened on each end. Place the apples and forcemeat balls together on a non-stick baking tray and cook in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until cooked through. Keep warm.

To Make the Bread Sauce

First add the onion to the milk and bring to the boil. Let this infuse for approximately 20 minutes, then remove the onion and the cloves. Add the breadcrumbs, spice and seasoning. Cook gently to a loose, dropping consistency. Set aside and keep warm.

Pour off the fat and remove the bird from the tray. Keep the bird warm and add the cider and stock to the residue in the roasting tray. Bring to the boil and reduce, skimming off the excess fat. When the required consistency for a thin gravy is achieved, pass through a sieve, season and keep warm.

To Garnish

  • 1 pinch watercress

To Serve

Lift the lids from the apples, place a forcemeat ball on top, then replace the lid. Arrange around the goose and tuck a little watercress into the bird for garnish. Carve at the table.