roast goose with streaky bacon, sausagemeat and chestnutsrating:
geese have been eaten at important feasts since time immemorial, probably because our ancestors noted that wild geese arrived and departed at agriculturally important times of year and invested their migratory patterns with great significance.
Serves 6 (if you're lucky - there's not much eating on a goose ..)
1 goose (4.5-5.5kg including the giblets). Trim any excess fat from the bird, but don't throw it away; use it as a roasting medium for potatoes.
for the gravy:
the giblets from the goose
1 medium carrot
1 stick of celery
1 medium onion, sliced in half
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
a sprig of thyme
glass of red wine, if you like (and one for the cook)
for the stuffing:
500g fresh minced organic pork
250g cooked and peeled sweet chestnuts, chopped. Fresh ones should be grilled for 10 minutes before peeling or use ready prepared, cooked whole chestnuts
1 level tbs chopped fresh sage
150g roughly chopped onion, softened in butter
100g fresh breadcrumbs made from mixed seed or any other fresh bread. Pulse in the food processor until crumbed
1 goose liver, diced
50g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp fine or flaky salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
a generous grating of nutmeg
1 heaped tbs chopped parsley
1 heaped tsp chopped thyme
100g chopped streaky bacon plus 4 whole rashers
to make the gravy, you first need to make a giblet stock. Roast the giblets and the carrot, celery, onion and garlic for 20 minutes at 200C. Place the cooked ingredients in a pan along with the bay leaf and thyme and just cover with water. Then simply simmer until the goose is ready. Don't worry if the liquid reduces by half - the more it evaporates the better the flavour.
to stuff and cook the goose, first preheat the oven to 240C/gas 9. Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing apart from the 4 rashers of bacon together in a large bowl, using either your fingers or a spoon according to your inclination. Stuff the goose with the filling, lightly pushing it into the cavity. Plug the open end with the 4 slices of streaky bacon. Take a skewer and pass it through the tops of the thighs, via the open vent. Then make a loop in a short length of string and lasso it over one end of the skewer. Pass the string over the bird and loop it over the other end of the skewer. Pull the lasso in so that the vent is half closed and the legs are drawn in tight to the body. Then take another skewer and length of string and repeat the process with the wings.
now season the goose, rubbing it with salt and pepper and a little excess goose fat from the cavity. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 180C/gas 4, and cook for a further 2 1/4 hours until the goose and stuffing are cooked through and clear juices run when pierced by a skewer.
remove the goose from the oven, place it on a chopping board and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before you touch it. While the goose is resting, make the gravy. To do this, ladle off the excess fat from the giblet stock, strain the stock into the tin in which you roasted the goose (discarding the giblets and vegetables) and heat it up on the stove. Use a large spoon to scrape all the caramelised bits that have adhered to the tin into the gravy. You may also want to add a glass of red wine. Finally, season the gravy with salt and pepper and pour it into a gravy boat.
serve the goose with red cabbage and roast potatoes, accompanied by apple or gooseberry sauce.