Christmas 2009 I cooked a roast goose for my friends who, like me were stranded in Miami, without family to spend the holiday with. I had for a long time wanted to try roasting a goose so I had finally done it. I hadn’t even tasted goose before making it that first time, so it was an adventure. It was generally a success, though the bird I got was a little large, so a bit on the tough side for goose, though the lovely fat the bird produced was used for about 3 or 4 months. I gave most of it to my guests at the dinner, and kept a little 8 oz. container for myself. I made some really lovely potatoes with it. I plan on using the saved fat from this year’s goose for that purpose for New Year’s Eve.
Beatriz’s mother had heard about my goose exploits and was keen on me making it for our noche buena dinner this year. I was more than happy to oblige (I had obviously forgotten how much work was involved before I readily agreed).
This year’s goose was tremendous, much better than 2009 even. I believe the bird I got was of higher quality (free range, no hormones or antibiotics), and it was a bit smaller (10 lbs versus 12 or 13 lbs), so the goose was tender and delicious. I made a traditional gravy using red wine and goose stock.
1 10 lb goose
1 cup of prunes
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup of Calvados (you can use brandy or cognac)
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tbs Chinese five spice powder
1 cup red wine
chicken stock (you can use water)
Method: Fill large pot 3/4 full with water. Bring to a boil. Prep the goose by removing the lobes of fat in the cavity (save for rendering later), cutting off wing tips (reserve for goose stock), reserving neck and giblets (for goose stock), and trimming fat from cavity (optional). Being very careful and using gloves, tongs, or oven mitts, dunk goose in boiling water for about a 45 seconds to a minute to tighten skin. The goose should get goose bumps (funny huh?) and the skin should tighten. I usually dunk half the bird at a time (removing the bird and using my protective gear to dunk the other half in). Using the tines of a fork, poke dozens of holes in skin of goose (be careful not to poke the meat, just the skin). Place goose on a baking sheet and place in refrigerator UNCOVERED for 24-48 hours (48 hours is better).
Make goose stock. Take chicken stock (or water), reserved goose parts, and whatever aromatics you wish (I didn’t use any, but you can add celery, carrot, bay leaf, onion, etc.), and bring to a boil. Simmer (removing scum from surface) for 1.5-2 hours. Remove goose parts and chop in little pieces. (to make gravy basically follow this recipe from my Thanksgiving post, adding red wine to the mix in addition to stock).
To roast the goose: Preheat oven to 350. Place prunes in bowl with brandy. Microwave for about 1 minute. Let cool, mix with chopped apples, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and one chopped onion. Place mixture in cavity of goose. Truss the bird, and rub liberally with salt, pepper, and Chinese five spice powder.
Place goose in oven and roast for about 3 hours. For the first half of roasting goose should be breast side down. After 1.5 hours, flip the goose. Every 30 minutes use a turkey baster to siphon off the copious amounts. This is very important because goose fat can ignite if it gets too hot (I really like the added element of danger involved in cooking a goose, really mixes it up). RESERVE FAT! DO NOT DISCARD!
Remove when goose reaches internal temperature of about 170. The goose should be very crispy, and the drumsticks fairly loose and easy to separate from the bird. Allow 20 minutes for cooling, and serve. Follow link above for making pan gravy. You need to basically replace wine for the goose juices, because the juices were siphoned off with the fat of the bird. You can also serve the prune, apple, onion, filling as a side dish.