The Festive period is well under way and I have no doubt that you’ve got all ingredients bought and the sprouts are already on the boil as I write!! Before racing to the supermarket to fight off the masses for the largest turkey crown imaginable, why not try something more traditional this year?
Long before turkey became the poultry of choice on the Christmas table, the goose had a starring role. Perfectly created to make for an ideal winter feast, geese graze on grass and corn throughout the year to become their fattest and tastiest just in time for the festive period.
Although brought back from the Americas in the 15th/16th centuries, and immortalised by the likes of Dickens, in the 1960s, turkey’s popularity really began to increase, as it was deemed to be more ‘exotic’ and has since become the most popular bird. However, Ginger Snap think it’s time to go cold turkey on the Christmas turkey and make your guests gander at a delicious, succulent goose!
Not only is goose meat more flavourful and tender, but the fabulous fat, the crispy, golden skin and the rich liver are extra bonuses that you won’t get with a turkey.
When cooking any bird, it’s important to remember that the legs and crown cook differently. The best way to overcome this is to cook legs and breasts separately. Remove the legs and confit them slowly; even a couple of days before. The crown can then be roasted on Christmas day, for a mouth-watering, juicy meat, served slightly pink; much quicker than turkey! And the legs crisped up in the oven like a confit duck leg.
Now I know what you’re thinking… what about all that fat?
Cooking a goose does produce a lot of fat, but this fat makes for the tastiest roast potatoes on earth and can be stored in your fridge for months, saving you from having to buy from the supermarket. Not only that, but the thick layer of flavoursome fat bastes the bird whilst cooking; unlike a turkey, which requires regular basting, guaranteeing you delicious, succulent meat!
Make sure to ask for the giblets. Use the liver to make a pâté, or thicken the gravy, and use the rest of the giblet for your gravy stock. Pair up your goose with crispy goose fat potatoes, with sage & onion or chestnut stuffing (or both!!!), some sautéed sprouts, devils on horseback, lots of bread sauce and a nice sharp chutney or redcurrant jelly.
There you have yourself a sumptuous feast!
The early bird catches the worm…
Fresh geese can be sourced from specialist suppliers and quality butchers. Order ASAP, as they fly off the shelves at Christmas time!
George Bower Butcher, Poultry & Game Dealer, Stockbridge, Edinburgh
Ridley’s Fish and Game, Edinburgh/ Stockbridge Markets
Simon Howie Butcher, Perthshire
Gartmorn Farm, Alloa
We wish you a Merry Christmas and the very best of luck for the New Year…. We’re getting goose bumps just thinking about it!!