Roast Goose with Bread sauce, Walnut and Apricot stuffing and all the Christmas trimmings

Categories: Main Course, Recipes, West
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Published on: November 7, 2013

Last year, I decided to forgo the usual Christmas Turkey and went with Goose.  I find I have so many Christmas dinners or lunches that by the time I get to doing my own I’m thoroughly sick of turkey.  Aside from that, I’ve never found turkey to be that nice for roasting, it’s dry and usually fairly tasteless.  Cooked properly, it can be nice but that’s rarely the case.  It’s usually dry turkey, overcooked sprouts and boiled to death carrots with some motor oil like gravy.  It doesn’t matter how well I cook Turkey after a few dinners like that, the mental scarring will prevent me from enjoying it.

I went for Goose this time around, which was actually the traditional Christmas meat in the UK – until the more American tradition for Thanksgiving turkey came along.  It made sense I suppose, a large turkey can feed an entire family more easily.  A large goose will feed no more than a few people even with a lot of veg.  Goose is comparatively expensive compared to turkey, the majority of the weight is made up of fat and bone, not meat.  On the other hand, goose is the total opposite of turkey when it comes to taste and texture.  The fat gives it real flavour and basically ensures that it is almost impossible to dry-out and overcook.

This was the first year I cooked goose.  I did a dry run as an early Christmas dinner for some of our friends and it worked out nicely.  It was much easier than expected, despite it being my first time cooking goose.  In fact, until that day, I had never even tried goose!  As I knew it was a very fatty bird, I decided I wanted some citrus to cut through all the fat but I also wanted to do the traditional bread sauce with my goose.  In the end I roasted the goose with an orange stuffed inside it, then did both a bread sauce and a Cumberland sauce (which is more of a Christmas turkey sauce) and it worked out beautifully.  I also made a walnut and apricot stuffing, although I kept the stuffing out of the goose until near the end of cooking as it would end up swimming in goose fat.  I can’t stress just how much fat you will get out of a goose.  I did a 4kg goose and got about a litre of fat.  So what I recommend you do is cook the goose the night before, drain off the fat (which is perfect for cooking your roast potatoes) then reheat it with the stuffing inside on the day.  There will still be some fat to come out and the stuffing can soak that, without it turning to mush.  If you feel cooking the goose the night before is too much effort, then just make the stuffing and add a tablespoon or two of goose fat to the stuffing as you make it on the day.

One of the great things about goose, is that it doesn’t take long to cook.  About 25mins per kilo is all you need.  Cooking times do vary depending on your oven, for instance, my 4kg goose took closer to 2hrs to cook instead of 1hr40mins.  But 25mins per kilo is a good guideline.  I also recommend getting a goose that weighs about 4.5kg.  The reason for that is the goose will be the perfect age and size to have a good portion of meat on it without it being too fatty.  The bigger sizes tend to be older birds where the meat is not quite as nice and they will have a greater proportion of fat to meat.  So I recommend that you stick to a goose around the 4.5kg mark, it will feed 4 people.  If you have to feed more, I’d suggest buying a second goose of similar size rather than buying a 7kg goose.

Click to enlarge

Ingredients (serves 4):


Roast Goose:

1x 4.5kg Goose

1 Orange

6 Cloves

2 Cloves Garlic


Sea Salt

150g Walnuts

75g Apricot


Black Garlic Carrots:

400g Carrots

8 Cloves Black Garlic

2 Shallots

4 Sprigs Thyme

2 Sprigs Rosemary

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Goose Fat Roast Potatoes:

16x Medium-Large Rooster Potatoes

Goose Fat



Braised Red Cabbage:

1 Large Red Cabbage

1 Cooking Apple

1 Clove Garlic

2 Red Onions

4 Tbsp Brown Sugar

3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

25g Butter

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Nutmeg


Bacon Sprouts:

200g Brussels sprouts

100g Streaky Bacon

2 Cloves Garlic

50g Butter


Bread Sauce:

300ml Whole milk

60g White breadcrumbs

50g Butter

1 Large Onion

10 White Peppercorns

6 Cloves

1 Tbsp Double Cream

1 Bay Leaf






For the Goose:

1.  Remove any giblets and fat from the inside of the goose.  Cut any string and loosen the legs.  Preheat oven to 200C.

2.  Lightly score the goose with the tip of a chefs knife.

3.  Zest and peel the orange.  Poke the cloves into the peeled orange.  peel and crush the garlic cloves.

4.  Pour some honey into a pot or ramekin and add the orange zest.  Lightly baste the goose.

5.  Generously sprinkle the goose with sea salt.

6.  Place the peeled orange and garlic inside the goose.

7.  Place the goose in the oven for 30mins, then reduce the heat to 180C for the remaining cooking time.

8.  After 1 hour of cooking or until halfway through the cooking time (whichever is longest), take the goose out of the oven and drain the fat.  Reserve the goose until the following day.

9.  Combine the walnuts and apricots in a blender and blitz until throughly mixed.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

10.  Remove the orange from the goose and stuff with the walnut and apricot mix.

11.  Preheat the oven to 180C and return the goose to the oven for the remaining cook time, covered with foil if necessary.

12.  Remove the stuffing and allow the goose to rest for 15mins before serving.


Braised Red Cabbage:

1.  Cut the cabbage in half and remove the tough outer leaves and root stalk.  Preheat oven to 150C.

2.  Shred the cabbage by cross cutting into ribbons or blitz in a food processor.

3.  Dice the red onions, garlic and apples and mix with the cabbage.

4.  Place the mix into a large heavy bottomed pot or casserole dish and season with salt and pepper.

5.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar and red wine vinegar and mix well.

6.  Cut the butter into four pieces and spread over the top of the cabbage.

7.  Place the lid on the pot or cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for about 2 hours or until soft and glossy.  Stir the cabbage every 30mins during cooking.


Goose Fat Roast Potatoes:

1.  Peel the potatoes, cut them into roughly equal sizes and place in a pot of salted water and bring it to the boil.  Preheat your oven to 200C.

2.  Reduce the heat slightly and parboil the potatoes (about 2-3mins).

3.  Drain the water and place a lid of the pot, gently shake the pot of potatoes so that they become fluffy on the outside.

4.   Add some of the goose fat to a large roasting tray (if the goose fat has hardened, then melt it in the oven while it is preheating).  Add enough goose fat to completely coat the potatoes.

5.  Put the potatoes in the roasting tray, roll and turn them to ensure they get a complete coating of goose fat.

6.  Sprinkle the potatoes generously with salt.

7.  Roast the potatoes for about 20mins, then remove from the oven and turn the potatoes.  Repeat this every 20mins until all sides of the potatoes have been lightly browned.

8.  Leave the potatoes in the oven to roast for another 30mins or until brown and crispy.


Black Garlic Carrots:

1.  Dice the shallots and slice the carrots and black garlic.

2.  Add 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil to a large saute pan at a med-high heat.

3.  Add the diced shallots and fry until they begin to soften.

4.  Add the carrots and saute until they begin to soften.

5.  Season the carrots with sea salt and the sprigs of thyme and rosemary, add more oil if required.

6.  Add in the black garlic and place the lid on the saute pan and allow the carrots to steam/braise for a few minutes until tender.

7.  Remove from heat, check seasoning and add some black pepper.  Serve immediately.


Bacon Sprouts:

1. Cut the bacon into lardons, dice the garlic and cut a small cross into the base of each sprout.

2.  Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil and place the sprouts in for about 5-6mins until just slightly soft.

3.  Meanwhile, heat a frying pan or saute pan and fry the bacon until it becomes crispy.

4.  Add the butter and garlic to the bacon and continue to fry for another minute.

5.  Add the sprouts and fry for a further 2mins, then serve.


Bread Sauce:

1.  Start by putting the breadcrumbs in a food processor and blitzing until very fine – fine enough to pass through a sieve.

2.  Cut the onion in half and poke the cloves into each half.

3.  In a medium sized saucepan, place the onion halves, milk, bay leaf, peppercorns and a pinch of grated nutmeg.  Season with salt and then slowly bring to the boil.

4.  Once the sauce begins to boil remove it from the heat and allow to cool and infuse for at least 30mins, then strain.

5.  Now gently reheat the milk and add in the breadcrumbs, cream and butter – do not boil.

6.  Allow the sauce the heat through until creamy and slightly thickened.  Check the seasoning and serve in a warm sauce boat.


Click to enlarge



– If the bread sauce becomes too thick you can whisk in some more hot milk to thin it out.

– If you want a bread sauce that is less rich, remove the cream and reduce the amount of butter.

–  I have split the cumberland sauce from this recipe as it’s usually a sauce for turkey or chicken.

–  Do not overcook the brussel sprouts, that is why they are so loathed at Christmas time!  Sprouts should have a slight firmness to them and should have a good mustard flavour to them, if they are overcooked the taste is ruined.  Of course, undercooked they taste bitter.

–  The black garlic carrots use a surprising amount of oil, don’t be afraid to add more, you don’t want dry carrots.

–  It is hard to judge how much goose fat is required for the potatoes.  A little too much is better than not enough – as long as you turn them, all sides will brown.

–  The goose giblets can be used to make a gravy for leftovers.

–  Do not discard excess goose fat, strain it and store it for later.  It will keep for months in the fridge.

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