I have chosen St Martin of Tours this month. As the patron saint of geese, he’s an obvious choice for December. I’m giving you an easy, foolproof recipe for roast goose with polenta roast potatoes, and my second recipe is for goose rillettes to use up any left over meat. The roasting time for the goose is normally around two hours. After one hour of cooking, drain off all the fat accumulated in the roasting tin – this is what you will use to cook your potatoes in. These take an hour and will be ready at the same time as the bird. I often pre-cook the potatoes and freeze them for a later date – I explain how to do this in the recipe.
A goose weighing 4½ to 5kg 3 eating apples, quartered 3 satsumas, quartered, with skin left on 1 good bunch of fresh sage or 1 tbsp dried sage
Rub the goose all over with kitchen paper to dry the skin.
Pop the apples and satsumas and sage in the cavity.
Prick the goose all over with a fork, being careful to only prick the skin and not the meat. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over it and rub in.
Cook in a hot oven for about 2 hrs. If the breast is getting burnt, cover for the last bit of cooking with tinfoil. It needs to rest for 30 mins and I usually turn it over, breast side down, to do this.
Take all the fruit out of the cavity and put in a saucepan with some of the fat and a few cloves. Soften it a little and serve with the goose and some red wine gravy that I always thicken with Bisto (so much easier than all that palava with flour etc!).
Polenta roast potatoes
3 large baking potatoes, each cut into 6 3 heaped tabs of polenta – I use Valsugana Fat from the goose roasting tin
Place the cut-up potatoes in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for precisely 7 mins.
While they are cooking, drain about a teacupful of fat from the goose roasting tin and pour into a smaller tin to accommodate the potatoes.
After 7 mins, drain the potatoes into a colander and give them a good shake to roughen the edges (I find a good old plastic one is better that a metal one as the edges are sharper).
Put the potatoes back in your saucepan, pour over the polenta and then rub it all into them, making sure each one is well coated.
Put them into the goose fat and roast, turning once or twice for about an hour until they are brown and crisp. There is no need to heat the goose fat before you put them in (you can prepare them to this stage earlier on if required).
So, a tip on roasting the potatoes in advance. Cook them as directed, let them get cold and then pop them into a freezer bag and freeze. When needed, take them straight out of the freezer and place them in a tin, still frozen, and cook in a hot oven for 30 mins. I always have a supply of frozen roast potatoes in my deep freeze as they go so well with so many other dishes than a roast and are delicious halved in a salad too.
Rillettes of goose
This is a delicious way of using up cold leftover goose, and it keeps well in the fridge for a week or so and also freezes well.
280-300g cooked goose 1 tbsp brandy, or Armagnac if you have it 1 good tbsp goose fat and some more to cover the rillettes when done, depending on the size of the jar or pot 1 ham stock cube, dissolved in 100ml boiling water 1 heaped tsp mixed spice – add a little more if you like at the end before you put it in the jar 1 heaped tsp smoked garlic granules
Cut up the goose meat into chunks, add all the ingredients and cook in a slow oven for about an hour until the meat is soft.
Take the mixture and pop it all on a dinner plate. Using two forks, pull the meat apart until you have a plate of fine shreds. This is the most important part of the dish and takes quite a while to do. You want it still to look like shredded meat but not to look like mince.
Place it all in a jar (I use a Kilner jar) and pour the rest of the goose fat over it to make a seal.
I serve it with slices of walnut toast and gherkins.
To make the walnut bread, add a handful of chopped walnuts when using your bread-making machine. If you haven’t got a bread-making machine, you really are missing out on a great, easy way to make all sorts of wonderful bread. My grandchildren so love to use it when they come to stay.
This article is from the December 2021 issue of the Catholic Herald. Subscribe today.
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