Cook My Goose!
Roast goose is the traditional Christmas meal of choice, however, very few households serve it these days. Possibly because a winter goose is quite fatty and oddly enough is tricky to roast without becoming dry and stringy. For centuries in numerous countries, a roast goose was the centerpiece of winter solstice feasting. So a few years ago I set out to produce a succulent and tasty Christmas feast centerpiece. At the same time, I was interested in creating a New Years cassoulet, a French winter dish composed of white beans and numerous meats topped with bread crumbs and drizzled with duck fat. Since the cassoulet would need to include a duck leg confit (duck legs cured, and baked in duck fat) I came up with the idea of using goose fat for both the cassoulet and confit. Hence the way I prepared the Christmas goose would assist in the production of the New Year’s cassoulet. I found that goose fat melts at the low temperature of 111°F, thereby melting into the roasting pan quite quickly rather than slowly basting the goose as it roasts. However, if I were to poach the goose at a very low temperature before roasting, the goose could be roasted for a shorter period of time and the meat would remain tender and succulent while the skin would become crisp. Poaching would render out most of the fat and create a goose broth, both of which could be used to prepare the cassoulet. This revelation created a holiday tradition in our household.
Herein lies the recipe for a succulent, crispy-skin roast goose with cherry jus, goose fat roasted potatoes, and braised red cabbage. The cherry jus and red cabbage make a perfect tart counterpoint to the rich, dark goose meat and meltingly delicious potatoes. Should you wish to try this Christmas feast you would have all the fat and broth necessary to prepare the cassoulet found in my next blog where I will break down in an easy to follow day-to-day style recipe. It is a fun culinary holiday adventure that you may just find as your annual holiday tradition!
Roast Goose with Tart Cherry Jus
8 to 12 entrée servings
10 to 12-pound goose
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups onion, medium dice (about 12 ounces)
1 cup carrot, medium dice (about 4 ounces)
1 bottle dry white wine (Pino Grigio)
¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms (about ½ ounce)
1 cup filtered water
1 cup celery, medium dice (about 4 ounces)
1 ½ cup Fuji apples, cored, medium dice (about 1 apple)
1 quart chicken broth
3 quarts filtered water
8-12 parsley stems
2 dry bay leaves
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
8-12 whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon sea salt
4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, sliced into slight ¼ inch rounds (optional)
Tart Cherry Jus
½ cup dried tart cherries
1 cup filtered water
2 quarts reserved goose broth
½ cup Armagnac
Sea salt to taste
1. Remove and reserve the wings, neck, tail, back and excess fat from the goose. Separate the wings at all three joints.
2. Heat the oil in a non-reactive sauce pot. Brown the wing parts, back, and neck. Add the onions carrots. When all is brown, deglaze the pan with a small amount of the wine to release the fond (browned parts on the bottom of the pan).
3. Heat the porcini and one cup of water on high in the microwave for one-and-a-half minutes. Cover tightly and rehydrated for at least one-half hour.
4. In a large, tall stockpot place the whole goose, browned, deglazed wings, neck, back, fat, onions, and carrots. Add the celery, apple, remaining wine, chicken broth, and three quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a bare simmer (160°F).
5. Remove the porcini from the hot water and add to the stockpot. Strain the porcini juice into the stock pot.
6. Add the parsley, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns.
7. Simmer the goose for two hours. If part of the whole goose is not covered in liquid, rotate the goose halfway through the cooking process so that all the goose is poached.
8. Remove the goose to a rack placed in a roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered, overnight.
9. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard porcini, onions, celery, apples, carrots, herbs, and spices. Chill the broth in an ice water bath before refrigerating. Reserve any meat from the neck and wings if making soup from leftover broth.
10. The next day, skim and reserve the goose fat from the goose broth. Excess goose broth may be used to make soup or cassoulet. The goose fat can be used for the optional potatoes or to make a confit of duck and/or cassoulet.
11. Preheat the oven to 400°F. If using the potatoes, toss them in a small amount of goose fat and salt. Scatter them under the rack holding the goose.
12. To make the Tart Cherry Jus, reduce two quarts of the broth by half in a non-reactive straight sided sauté pan. Boil the filtered water and pour over the cherries to rehydrate for fifteen minutes. Add the Armagnac, cherries, and their juice. Reduce until slightly syrupy. Taste, Think, Transform with sea salt.
13. Roast the goose in the oven until the skin is golden brown, and crisp (165°F internal temperature taken at the thigh-body joint), about thirty minutes. Remove the goose to a cutting board and cover with foil. Rest for fifteen minutes until carving. Continue to roast the potatoes until golden and cooked through if using.
Braised Red Cabbage
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup red onion, peeled, halved, ¼ inch slices (about 1 small onion)
2 medium clove garlic, minced
7 cups red cabbage, cored, ¼ inch slices (about 1 ½ pound)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, ¼ inch slices
⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red currant jelly
½ teaspoon caraway
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook about three minutes until softened. Deglaze with the vinegar. Add the currant jelly.
2. Toss in the cabbage and apples and coat thoroughly. Stir in the caraway, salt, and pepper.
3. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat for about one hour, stirring occasionally.
4. Taste, Think, Transform with salt, pepper, and/or vinegar.