8 lbs. goose, best a free range goose
Salt, spiced salt – I used salt that I had mixed with some Italian herbs, but not too much of the herbs
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 Onion, halved
2 Celery stalks, cleaned, halved and cut into pieces
1 Carrot, peeled and cut into pieces
2 Garlic gloves, chopped
Other root vegetables are optional
2 Apples (Golden Delicious), washed, cored, quartered and cut into medium sized pieces
1 Cup pitted prunes
Optional to be added: chopped walnuts and other dried fruits and a bit of rum or cognac
2 Tablespoons of butter
Oval roaster w. lid
Open roasting pan with rack
1 Large sauté pan
2 strong meat forks
Carving board and carving knife and fork
2 ½ days before dinner:
Take the goose out of the freezer, remove the foil and place the bird in a roasting pan on top of a rack. Let the goose defrost for 1 ½ days.
24 hours before cooking the dinner:
Remove the bag with the giblets, cut off the end of the wings and dry the goose with paper towels. Remove all excess fat and pluck out any remaining quills (by using the strong tweezers). Salt and pepper the goose generously in and outside and place it on the cleaned rack in the roaster. Place back into the fridge for the next 24 hours. We call this dry brine, it does not add any water to your roast and the skin will be really nice colored and very crisp.
Heat up the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan or the oval roaster and brown the wings and the giblets. Add the vegetables and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cut down the temperature. Close the pot and let simmer for 2 hours. When cooled down strain the broth trough a cheese-cloth and strainer; keep some of the vegetable pieces and store everything in the fridge.
Calculate your needed cooking time: 40 minutes steaming time, cooling down time 20 minutes, 20 minutes per pound roasting time (2 hours and 40 minutes for 8 lbs.) and another 30 minutes resting time. All together you will need some 4 hours and 10 minutes.
Take the goose good 5 hours before serving time out of the fridge.
Prepare the filling; I did it this time after the steaming time. But I would suggest to briefly sauté the filling first; it taste a lot better. Heat up the butter in the sauté pan; add the apple pieces, sauté for some 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the prunes, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste and add a little bit of cognac or rum. Take the pan from the heat and let the filling cool down.
Fill the oval roaster 2 inch high with the broth and place the goose if possible on a rack, but it works also without a rack in the roaster. Bring the broth to a boil, cut down the temperature and let it simmer for some 30 minutes. This moist heating phase will help to melt away a good amount of the goose fat and will make the meat even more tender.
Carefully remove the lid and let the goose cool down some 20 minutes before further roasting of the goose in the oven.
Heat up the oven to 325 degrees.
With two strong meat forks remove the goose from the oval roaster, be careful to let all liquids drop back into the oval roaster. Lift the goose on the roasting rack; with the spoon stuff the filling loosely into the cavity. Skim fat of the broth and add two soup ladles of the broth into the roasting pan and placed the roasting pan into the oven. Roast for another 2 hours and 40 minutes. Try to remove as much fat as you can during the roasting time and in the last 30 minutes baste the goose often with some cold saltwater.
Be sure to keep the goose fat, it is one of the best fats for cooking.
If you are using a thermometer, the tight meat should be about 180 degrees, if the goose is stuffed, then the stuffing should reach 170 degrees.
If the skin should be not brown enough you could increase the heat to 425 degrees and let the goose roast for another few (5 -7) minutes on higher temperature. Keep an eye on the goose; you do not want to ruin the goose in the last moment.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil. After 20 minutes lift out the goose – again with the help of the two meat forks and place it on a carving board.
Prepare the gravy, fill 1 cup of broth into the roaster and loosen up the drippings. Pour the liquid into a measuring cup; try to separate the fat from the rest of the drippings, either by using a sauce separator cup or you have to scoop off the fat first. Add some of the kept vegetables and if you like 1 or 2 tablespoons of the filling, place this all into a blender and puree the mixture. Spice the gravy to taste with salt and pepper and a bit of cognac. The gravy should be very silky and rich in flavor. I stopped adding flour and even sweet or sour cream. We love it like it is. And do not worry, you will always think that the sauce is messed up, but at the end the gravy will be great – like the rest of this feast. And by skipping the flour or starch you are escaping one big problem with the sauce, nothing is worse than a lumpy flour sauce.
I served the duck with red cabbage – cooked with apple, a handful of fresh cranberries and the usual spices and seasoned it at the end with a good tablespoon of black currant jelly. Furthermore I was unable to resist cooking scalloped sweet and Idaho potatoes with heavy cream and some grated parmesan. The oven is already hot and it is easy to prepare and cooks while the duck is resting. Those potatoes are my favorite comfort food – at the moment.
What a feast, enjoy it.