The 9th Day of Christmas
Goose roasted with Tuscan sausage, apple & thyme stuffing
When Alex and I were first courting we had a nice goose from what is now our family home in
Warwickshire. A goose is always a good alternative to turkey and suitable for small groups since there is little waste and the surplus goose fat makes the most gorgeous roast potatoes and leftover fat makes a nice rustic present for friends and family.
1 Fosse Meadows goose, approximately 8kg
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated
500g Alex's sauagemeat or Tuscan sausage
a handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
2 thick slices of white bread, preferably dry, zapped to breadcrumbs with a hand blender
1 small egg
a little olive oil, plus more for rubbing
Trapani sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
To make the stuffing
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion with the lid on (soffrito) for around 5 minutes until translucent. Transfer to a large bowl and, once cooled, add the other stuffing ingredients (everything but the goose), mix it all together until well incorporated - use your hands and squeeze the mixture through your fingers - it will be around double what you need to stuff the goose - use the rest to make forcemeat balls; make small balls of the stuffing mixture (about 3cm in diameter) and roast them on a roasting tray in a hot oven for 20 minutes. Serve them with the goose.
To roast the goose
Remove the bag of giblets and set aside (you can use these in gravy and stock). Wash the bird thoroughly inside and out, then pat dry and cut away any excess fat and skin. Place the goose breast-side-up on a trivet or wire cooling rack that's set inside a large roasting tray - this way the bird won't be sitting in its own rendered fat when it cooks.
Next half-stuff the cavity with your stuffing. Use cocktail sticks to seal up the cavity at the neck end, carefully pushing them through the skin. Alternatively, use a butcher's needle and thread to sew up the neck hole. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, then tie the wings to the side of the bird. Next stuff the crop or make stuffing balls as you prefer (remembering not ti burn them as they will cook quicker). Rub the bird all over with a little olive oil and season with plenty of sea salt and black pepper.
Tuck a double layer of tin foil all around the goose - if you foil is too narrow join with a pleat at the top so you can get at the bird easily. Then roast in a preheated oven (180ºC, Gas Mark 4) for 2 hours. Remove the foil and roast for a further 30 minutes until golden brown. Rest for 30 minutes covered in foil before carving.
Make sure you save the goose fat. Strain with a tea strainer into a plastic jug and suck out the juice at the bottom with a baster. Let the fat cool and then pack into a jar for making roast potatoes.
Serves 4 comfortably.
Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking 2 hours 30 minutes
to make goose gravy
Good gravy is best made a few days beforehand so I often make some and keep it frozen to save time on Sunday so I can concentrate on roasting times. At Christmas any good butcher will have ample supplies of chicken wings and carcass so there is no excuse for not making plenty of gravy to keep you going until Easter.
500g chicken, or duck bones, or a mixture, chopped into small pieces, plus goose giblets
2 litres chicken stock
a glass of Primitivo or Chianti
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, trimmed, roughly chopped and washed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tsps tomato passata
1 tbsp flour (if you want it thickened - we don't)
6 black peppercorns, crushed with teh back of a knife
a few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Roast the bones, goose giblets and the vegetables and garlic for about 15-20 minutes until lightly coloured, giving them a good stir every so often. When they are a nice golden-brown colour, add the tomato purée then the flour and stir well with the bones and vegetables in the roasting pan. Return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove the roasting tray from the oven to the hob. Add a little of the stock and give it a good stir over a low flame. This will remove any residue from the tray and begin the thickening process. Transfer everything into a large saucepan, cover with the rest of the stock and some cold water if the stock doesn't cover the bones and add the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that forms and simmer for 2 hours or overnight if you have an AGA Rayburn. The gravy may need topping up with water to keep the ingredients covered. Skim occasionally as required. Strain through a fine-conical sieve and remove any fat with a ladle. Check its strength and reduce it if necessary.
To reduce the gravy just leave in the bottom oven if you have a flued oven. Freeze in small bags or trays then turn out into another freezer bag for frozen storage.
Alex's Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta
I used to HATE Brussels Sprouts for their bitterness and anti-social consequences until I came across this recipe. Pan fried Brussels are now one of my favourite Christmas accompaniments and they go great with Sara's glorious celeriac mash or Castellucio lentils - a real antidote to the usual English formula of school dinner soggy boiled veg!
for 4 people
500g Brussels sprouts trimmed cleaned
a splash of olive oil to coat the pan
100-150g my pancetta, smoked or unsmoked
Trim and clean the sprouts taking off any yellow leaves. Leave a short stem on to hold the balls firm then par boil for 5 or 10 minutes but no longer - they still need to be firm and green since we're not making school dinner veg! Cut the Brussels in half and set aside whilst sautéing the pancetta in the next step.
Get out a large frying pan or casserole and add a splash of olive oil to just coat then toss in 7-8mm cubetti of pancetta on medium heat and sauté until the fat starts to render since this will flavour the Brussels. Next step is to carefully arrange the halved Brussels face down and sauté on a good heat without moving about too much so that they char on the bottom. If they stick that's not too much of a problem but carbonised is too well done. The bases should be blackened and the tops still fairly green. Serve when ready.
Any leftovers can be incorporated with roast potato to make Brussels sprouts rosti or to go with Toad In The Hole!
See yesterday's recipe for lentils and celereac mash.
If you would like to order a goose for Christmas please just call me on 07824 314 235 TODAY!
Available for home delivery or collection