Wood-roast Christmas Goose

Wood-roast Christmas Goose stuffed with Sausage Meat, Apricot and Chestnuts served with Wood-roast Potatoes and Vegetables

Once the presents have been opened, many of us are looking for a way to get out of the house on Christmas Day. We recommend the peace and quiet of the back garden, a glass of wine, a woodfired oven and the aroma of a roasting goose. You may find that you won’t be alone for long! One of the advantages of a wood-fired oven over a barbecue is that if it rains (or snows!) the fire won’t go out. Pop up a garden umbrella, grab a coat and get on with it. Goose breast is a delicate meat, contrasting sharply with the robust and flavourful leg. It makes sense to cook the two parts separately.

You will need:
1 x approximately 5kg fresh goose

For the stuffing

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 175g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 75g cooked, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • (a great canned product readily available)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 500g good quality sausage meat
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 large glass white wine
  • To cook the stuffing

    Heat the oil in a frying pan or heavy-bottomed stainless-steel pan. Cook the onions, garlic and thyme, without colour, on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Add the brandy and flame with a match. Take off the heat and stir in the apricots, chestnuts and orange zest. Cool the mixture before mixing with the sausage meat, and salt and pepper. Disposable gloves come in very handy here for thorough blending of the stuffing ingredients.

    Preparing the bird for roasting 

    Using a sharp knife, cut off both legs. Slash the fatty skin of the leg three times, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Place the legs on a grill rack over an oven tray, so that during the cooking process the rendered fat can drip off the legs into the tray below. This fat can be used later for roasting the potatoes and other root vegetables. 

    Stuff your goose carcass with the sausage meat stuffing and place on an oven tray. Splash with a large glass of white wine, which helps to both flavour the meat and to keep it moist. Season the carcass with salt and pepper. Wood-roasting the bird

    This is a labour of love. Roast the legs on the bottom of the oven (relatively cooler part of the oven) for 1½ to 1¾ hours, turning the tray and turning over the legs for even cooking at ¼ hour intervals, basting with the excess fat from the drip tray. Place the stuffed bird on the shelf or ‘trivet’. This is the hotter part of the oven. You will need to turn the tray front to back every 7-8 minutes for the first 20-25 minutes while the breasts gain colour. Cover the bird with foil and keep turning every ¼ hour, basting with excess juices for approximately 1½ hours or until cooked through.

    The sausage meat stuffing must be cooked through to the middle, showing a temperature of 72°C on completion. Let the goose rest in a warm oven (around 60°C) while you woodroast the vegetables and potatoes. You may need to splash a little more wine into the tray if it is drying up and burning.

    To serve 

    Carving the legs can be a bit of a messy business, so we would suggest that you do this in the kitchen and lay the darker meat around the uncarved carcass. Carve the breasts and spoon out the stuffing at the table. 

    Tips 

    If you want to roast potatoes and root vegetables in the goose fat in the wood-fired oven (and it would be a crime not to), then free up some space and transfer the roasting legs to your kitchen oven (preheat to 180°C) halfway through cooking. They will already have picked up a fantastic wood-roast flavour.