A Christmas Goose is something I’ve always wanted to try. I’d been thinking about doing it ever since Thanksgiving and the other day while at the grocery store, I saw a goose and decided to go ahead and try it. At the last minute I invited some friends for a small “Christmas Dinner” and they were warned that they would be guinea pigs.
Lessons were learned. The first one being how easy it is to prepare a goose. I simply seasoned it with lemon juice, salt and pepper and roasted it at 325° for 2½ hours and it was perfect. This might sound silly, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted.
The second lesson concerns size. You'll need 1½ to 2 pounds per person. I had a 9½ pound goose for seven thinking it would be ample, but found that 1½ pounds of the purchased goose was the neck, fat and giblets and probably another pound of fat would cook off. The size worked out well enough with all of the side dishes and dessert, but seconds or leftovers would have been nice.
A fresh goose is something that you would need to special order, but this time of year they’re generally available in the frozen food section of the grocery store with turkeys and ducks.
Everything I’ve read about thawing, recommends you do it over a couple of days in the refrigerator. I’ve done it overnight in the sink, but that’s only because lately I don’t plan far enough in advance to do it the preferred way.
Once the bird is thawed, bring it to room temperature. This will take an hour or two. Once the goose is at room temperature preheat the oven to 325°. Remove the neck, giblets, and any visible fat. With a trussing needle prick the skin of the goose all over, but don’t pierce the meat. Pricking the skin will allow the fat to drain from the goose. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice over the goose and then season with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together, closing the cavity. Place the goose on a rack in a roasting pan and pour ½ an inch of water in the pan and place in the oven. The water prevents the fat from burning and provides moisture.
A goose cooks for 15 to 20 minutes per pound, so the 12-pound goose will take roughly three to four hours. Keep in mind that the goose weighed 12 pounds before the neck, fat and giblets were removed, so it might only weigh 10 pounds when it goes into the oven.
After the first hour of cooking, take the goose out of the oven and drain the fat from the pan (you’ll need a 4 cup container to hold the fat), then add another ½ inch of water to the pan and repeat this again after the second hour of cooking. Test the temperature of the goose by placing a meat thermometer in the thigh. It should read 165° to 170° when it’s done. When it’s done let it rest for 20 minutes before serving.
With the goose I served wild rice, sautéed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, braised red cabbage and Yorkshire pudding. For dessert we had Trifle. The Grapevine recommends Sante Pinot Noir to serve with dinner.