Whether you're a seasoned lover of goose or this is a new avian adventure, read on to pick up our expert tips for buying, preparing, roasting and carving this beautiful bird
If turkey is an annual fixture on your Christmas table, why not try another traditional favourite this year? Roast goose offers a moist meat par excellence, basting as it roasts in the layer of fat that naturally resides under the skin. What's not to love? We're sure the family will be wowed (and don't worry, the turkeys probably won't mind either)...
How to buy the best
Look for even coloured, off-white skin with no signs of bruising. Frozen goose is available all year round. Fresh British specimens are generally superior and are in season from the end of September up until January.
There isn’t as much meat on a goose as you’d expect when you look at the size of it, because the cavity-to-meat ratio is much higher than a turkey or chicken. Bear in mind that even the biggest goose is unlikely to feed more than 8 people generously.
How to prepare a whole goose
There are two large lobes of fat just at the opening of the cavity which need to be pulled out before roasting and can be rendered down for frying or roasting. To do this, melt them very slowly over a low heat, then cool, strain and keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Don’t forget that poultry may contain a plastic bag of giblets, which must be removed before cooking. The neck and gizzards make great stock for gravy and the liver can be used to make pâté, or pan-fried and enjoyed on toast.
Like duck, goose has a good layer of fat under the skin which will come out of the bird during roasting. For this reason, it's best to pop it in the oven on a wire rack or on top of a trivet of vegetables, to lift it off the base of the roasting tin. This will allow the fat to drain into the tray below, which you can reserve for other recipes, such as delicious roast potatoes.
How to roast a goose
Unlike turkey and chicken, which should be roasted until the meat is an opaque white, goose can be served slightly pink. However, the legs need cooking a lot longer than the breast so keep the temperature low. Although the breast meat will be well done by the time the legs are cooked through, the layer of fat will ensure that it’s nicely basted and won’t dry out.
Raymond Blanc says, 'In my opinion, it is impossible to roast a whole goose and end up with the legs and breast cooked perfectly – by the time the legs are tender, the breast is overdone. My solution is to take the legs off and slow-cook them, then quick-roast the breast on top so it’s still nice and pink.'
How to carve and serve
The easiest way to get the most meat off the carcass is to remove the legs first, then take the whole breasts off the bone and carve into thin slices. Removing the wishbone when preparing the goose will also make it easier to serve - you can ask your butcher to do this for you.
How to store leftover goose meat
Cold leftover goose that is wrapped in tinfoil or popped in an airtight container can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Leftover breast meat is ideal eaten cold, as it can become dry if reheated. Brown meat is delicious reheated in a sauce or leftover gravy.
How to serve goose
Seasonally and traditionally the rich meat of goose pairs well with apples, so try serving with a classic Bramley apple sauce or using cider in the gravy. Still after some inspiration? Try one of our favourite goose recipes:
What's your favourite way to cook goose? Let us know in the comments below...