Friday, 27 November 2009

Her Goose was cooked
by Bella

You used to eat goose at Michaelmas, the quarter day on which rent was due. The goose feast afterwards must have been some compensation for the fiscal transfer. Now we seem to have goose only at Christmas, though you could give it a go for Thanksgiving.
The first goose I ever saw cooked was produced by a woman who turned out to be having an affair with my husband and I hadn't felt much like cooking one since. That is, until one turned up recently in the post, sent by the remarkable outfit Donald Russell. They provide meat for the royal palaces and everything that arrives from them, packed in dry ice in smart white polystyrene boxes, is of really excellent quality.
I thought long and hard about cooking this goose, but in the end used a method so simple and so delicious that I have been kicking myself ever since for not cooking one sooner. It made a fantastic feast for 7 people
Here's how we did it

1 goose roughly 4kg
6 oranges, halved or quartered depending on size
a mix of freshly ground salt and pepper
8 or 9 good sized potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks, boiled for five-7mins and gently floured, for roasting

Preheat the oven to 200c. Wipe the goose, making sure it's completely dry and put it in a roasting dish (make sure goose and dish fit in the oven). Put the oranges inside the cavity, rub the salt pepper on the skin and pour a little water round the bird. Put in the oven for an hour. At the end of the hour, drain off any excess fat into a bowl and reserve. Put the goose back into the oven at a lower temperature (say 180c) and continue to cook until the skin is brown and golden and crisp and any juices run clear (stick a fork into the leg, as this is the bit that takes longest to cook).
One hour or so before the end of cooking time, put the reserved fat into a roasting dish, heat in the oven and add the potatoes. Turn once or twice so that they brown evenly. Serve with the goose and a bowl of red cabbage and a dish of apple sauce.

Red Cabbage
A great accompaniment to goose, or you can turn baked red cabbage into a dish in its own right by adding sausages, pushed into the cabbage mix, about 40 minutes before the end of cooking
serves 6-7

1 medium sized red cabbage
450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
450g onions, finely chopped
150ml red wine
150ml wine vinegar
4tblsp brown sugar
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
several strips of orange peel
chopped herbs, eg parsley, sage, thyme
1 teasp ground cloves
half a cinnamon stick

Preheat the oven gas mark 4. Find a deep oven proof casserole and put in a layer of cabbage, a layer of onions and garlic and a layer of apples. Season with salt and pepper, add the herbs sprinkle on half the sugar and half the cloves and add the cinnamon stick. Continue the layers until the casserole is full. Pour in the wine and vinegar. Cover and cook in a very slow oven for 3-4 hours

Apple Sauce
I make apple sauce if I can't find a jar of it in the cupboard, consequently it's a bit of a hit and miss affair, using any ingredients that seem vaguely suitable that I happen to have to hand.

3-4 old apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1-2 cloves
half a cinnamon stick
a bit of lemon peel
knob of butter

Put the apple, cloves, cinnamon stick and lemon peel into a saucepan. Add a little water and put over a low heat until the apple is soft and breaking up. Stir in the butter, put in a fancy dish and serve

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