Roast Goose with Bourbon Gravy — A Christmas Classic!

Last year we were doing a regular monthly supper club with our good friends Kim and Barry from the beautiful Rustic Garden Bistro food blog.  We got the December dinner, and were looking forward to doing a Christmas Classic that we’d never tried before:  Roast Goose!

Geese

Lots of wild Canadian Geese available for the taking right across the street at Tri-City Park, but I hear the panty-waisted local authorities frown on such things…

I had my heart set on it fairly early in the year.  I’d grown up hunting geese and ducks, so had some limited experience in cooking wild game, and had seen the Christmas Goose dinner in too many old movies and stories to count, so it seemed like a stellar idea.  But while I had shot a goose or two in my youth, I now lived in an area where whacking the local geese was frowned upon.

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Fortunately, the local grocery stores all seem to have this in stock.

Fortunately, though I’d never really noticed it, nearly every major grocery store in our area actually carried goose/geese.  They weren’t cheap (normal price is about $6.99/lb for a 10 pound bird, but you can get it cheaper on sale if you keep your eyes open), but they were plentiful, so I picked one up and began to seriously research a good traditional recipe.  I probably reviewed twenty or so recipes and other articles about the use and care of a goose before settling on some combination of three of them to combine for the dinner. One had a recipe for both the roasted goose and a bourbon gravy (originally found at www.gooseproducts.com–the home page of Schiltz Foods, the producers of Whetstone Valley Geese, but who have since removed their recipes for some reason, making our re-printing of it here that much more critical!), one for a simple brine for the goose, and one for a Dickensian chestnut stuffing for the goose (which we will blog about separately).  If you know how we feel about bourbon, you can guess how I reacted to finding a traditional roast goose recipe that used a bourbon gravy, so I jumped all over that!

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Doing a goose sounds scary, but it really isn’t anything more than a small turkey or extra large chicken.

I removed the neck and giblets and wing tips from the goose and rinsed it, before putting it in the brine the night before.  About 5 hours before dinner, I began preparing the turkey in earnest for the party, as described below, and I’m pleased to report that it turned out great!  Everyone ate their fill that night, I sent some goose grease home with our guests (there was a TON of the useful stuff on this domestic goose–wild goose is much leaner), and there was enough goose and carcass left over to do a goose risotto that we pieced together from a few other recipes, which we will blog about later…

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Goose coming out of the brine.

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Stuffing the cavity with onion, garlic, and sage.

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Breast side down, ready to roast.

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Check out all the goose oil poured from the pan after the first two hours! It is beautifully colored and should be saved for future cooking needs.

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Rotate goose breast-side up, and add turkey innards and parts to roasting pan with chicken broth.

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Ready to carve! (Ignore appetizer/party detritus in background)

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Carves just like a small turkey or large chicken.

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Carved up and ready to serve!

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Plated with bacon sauteed brussel sprouts and chestnut stuffing!

Roast Goose with Bourbon Gravy
 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: Varied
Ingredients
  • Sage Roasted Goose
  • 1 10-12 pound goose, thawed and brined (see brine note below)
  • Salt and Pepper and Paprika (or Creole Seasoning and Black Pepper)
  • 1 Large sweet onion, quartered
  • 3-4 Whole cloves of garlic, cracked
  • 6 Fresh sage leaves (or 2 tsp dried sage)
  • 2-3 Cups chicken broth
  • Bourbon Gravy
  • Goose Drippings
  • 1 8 ounce container demiglace (home-made or available from specialty markets or butchers) or 2 envelopes au jus gravy mix plus 1 cup water.
  • ⅓ Cup Bourbon or Whiskey
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh sage, or 1 tsp dried sage
Instructions
  1. The night before your dinner, remove neck, giblets, and wing tips (reserving all for later). Remove and discard large pieces of fat.
  2. Begin brining the cleaned goose (simple brine recipe in note below).
  3. About 5 hours before you plan to eat, rinse the brine off.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Pierce goose skin all over with a paring nice, especially in fatty area of breast (not necessary with wild goose).
  6. Sprinkle inside and out with salt, pepper and paprika (or creole seasoning and pepper).
  7. Insert onion quarters, garlic, and sage leaves in cavity of goose.
  8. Place breast-side down on roasting rack in large, open roasting pan (ours in the picture really wasn’t quite large enough, but was all we have).
  9. Roast goose for 1 hour and 45 minutes—(if you’re one of those people who doesn’t read the whole recipe first, note that this is only HALF the total cooking time–two more hours or so is still to come).
  10. Remove goose from oven, spoon or pour off drippings and reserve for future use (I was shocked at how much oil came off the goose–see pic above).
  11. Add 2 cups chicken broth, wing tips, neck, and giblets to roasting pan.
  12. Rotate goose to breast-side up on roasting rack.
  13. Continue roasting 2 more hours or until temperature of goose at thickest part of meat (between breast and thigh) reaches 180 degrees, or until juices run clear when stabbed. If necessary, add more broth to pan to prevent pan drippings from burning.
  14. Place goose on large serving platter, and cover loosely with foil.
  15. Pour drippings from roasting pan into bowl or gravy separator. Skim off fat and discard.
  16. Strain remaining juices into saucepan, add demiglace (or gravy mix and water), and bourbon.
  17. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  18. Stir in butter and minced sage, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  19. Pour into heated pitcher or sauceboat.