Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Cooking our goose - Part Five
Christmas day, and the goose came out of the fridge. We had blanched it in boiling water the day before, and allowed it to dry in the fridge overnight. We stuffed its body cavity with an onion, a quartered lemon, some quartered apples, and a branch of rosemary.
The legendary five-hour cabbage was done, and the oven thermostat kicked up to 425. The goose was gently laid breast-up into the roasting pan on top of a lattice of celery stalks, and in it went.
The recipe said roast for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce the heat to 350. Then we were to turn it onto its side. Every 25 minutes we were supposed to baste it with a ladle full of boiling water, so we kept a saucepan on the stove. It's hard to balance a goose on its side. The lattice of celery stalks, which were supposed to keep it out of the fat, softened and slithered to the side of the pan. We wedged a quarter lemon against its hip to keep the thing in position.
By the second 15 minute basting time, it was surprising to see how much fat was in the base of the roasting pan. [The Man I Love] tilted the pan while I sucked the fat up with a bulb-baster. This happened two more times before we were told to turn the goose on its other side.
By this time, I was busy with the pie - an open-faced French pear tart. The tart pan with the shell had been in the fridge since morning. Between goose-fat suckage, I chopped dark, semi-sweet chocolate that went in a layer at the bottom of the shell, then I sliced pears and arranged them in a pinwheel pattern. Then I mixed up a custard with eggs and cream and a touch of kirsch, and poured it over the fruit.
For the last 20 minutes we laid the goose on its back again, and [The Man I Love] mixed us a Kir Royale, a glass of champagne or sparkling wine with a dollop of creme de cassis - a Burgundian cocktail. The goose came out, I cranked the oven up to 400 degrees, and put in the pie.
Then, time to set the table. I used my Great Aunt Louie Boyd's china, and polished three place settings of her silver.
We had bought this bottle of wine home with us from France, and had saved it for this occasion.
The goose? Oh, so you wanted some pictures of the roasted goose? The sad fact is - I just plain forgot to snap a shot of the bird in all its triumph. Is that lame, or what?
Here is its pitiful carcass after being carved. I was busy making gravy and steaming beans.
And then it was time for the pie to come out.
Here's our meal. The goose breast was succulent and rich, and not greasy at all. I used someof the poaching liquid from the prunes to add a touch of flavor to the gravy. The stuffing was perfect, and the cabbage was intense. The simple steamed green beans were a nice contrast to the complex flavors of everything else.
Will I cook a goose again? I'm not sure. On the one hand, it was fun and I got some goose fat out of the deal. On the other hand, the bony carcass didn't leave much in the way of leftovers. Would a duck be easier, or just as much work?
I hope you all had a very wonderful holiday!