The Perfect Holiday Goose requires special care and treatment to make it perfect for your holiday feast. Learn how to do it perfectly. Once you do, goose makes an exceptional, flavorful treat for your family festivities.
CHOOSING A GOOSE: If buying a fresh goose, make sure it is plump and well formed, with smooth skin free of blemishes and pinfeathers. Don’t buy one wrapped in plastic, as you cannot see what you’re buying.
A 10 to 11 lb. goose is the largest you should consider (bigger ones might be tough). Since geese have large carcasses and relatively little meat, a goose this size will serve no more than eight people. If you want to serve a larger group, buy two geese.
PREPARATION AND COOKING: Because goose contains a great deal of fat just below its thick skins, it should not be roasted in the same way as leaner birds such as a turkey with fat while it roasts, the opposite is true with goose: you must remove grease. Care and a few tricks are needed for roasting a goose, but he succulent meat and crisp skin are worth every ounce of effort.
Pull out any loose pads of fat. Using a needle, pierce skin and fatty layer without penetrating the lean meat.
Pour boiling water over bird just before placing in oven and again partway through roasting time to melt out fat and crisp the skin.
Discard drippings as they accumulate during the first 2 1/2 hours of cooking. To remove drippings, place foil over oven mitts and lift goose right out of the pan and place on work surface. Pour off drippings into large juice can to discard.
CARVING: Carving a goose demands a different technique than carving a turkey. A more rigid knife is needed because of the narrow body and close-set legs and wings. Removing the wishbone before stuffing the bird will also make carving easier.
Gently move wing bone to locate shoulder joint. With large stiff-bladed chef’s knife, cut down firmly through joint, severing tendons to free wing.
Cut through skin in an arc around leg. Press knife down between thigh and body. Cut through joint to free leg. Cut leg in two between thigh and drumstick.
Using long slender carving knife, carve breast into lengthwise slices slightly diagonal to breastbone.
Leftover goose makes an excellent stock, but requires special attention to remove the fat.