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!


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...


Why a duck?

P.S. Happy Holidays!

Blondie's Journal said...

You did a wonderful job...and the experience was worth it, right? Everything looks so delicious, I wish I were there to taste it.

Duck is fun. Less gamey tasting, but you may want to make two, they don't have a lot of meat either considering, like the goose, they need all that fat to keep warm.

Loved your series! :-)


Mary Bergfeld said...

It sounds like a fabulous meal. You did a great job. Happy holidays!

Tristan Robin said...

I've been enjoying this journey of the goose!

Your meal and table setting were lovely - and it was clear you were having fun...which is all that really matters!

I love goose - and haven't had one in years. You may have inspired me for next year. hmmm. Maybe not. I am such a fan of catered food for holidays. LOL But if I were to be a big boy and make a meal, yours would be a terrific menu!

Gilly said...

Sounds delicious! Especially that red cabbage! Must try that sometime soon - a good winter dish I guess

Always found duck a great disappointment. All bone, little meat and hard to get off the bone as you eat it. And nothing special when hyou do get it in your mouth!

Anonymous said...

It was a lot of work to make such an incredible meal, but I'm glad you shared it with us via photojournaling!
I have a Chinese friend who purchases duck quite often, because her family is always begging her to make Peking Duck. She says it isn't hard to make but she is an incredible cook.


Holy smokes! This all looks terrific.

Jodi Anderson said...

I may be vegan, but my mouth is watering. It's like I can almost smell it and the plate looks divine.

Thanks for taking us on this cooking journey.

Merry new year!

Melli said...

LOL! I cooked a duck for New Years Day dinner --- I didn't know the trick about rendering the fat out of it -- THAT is a great tip! But the bird itself is (I promise you) JUST as much work and measely servings! These birds just don't carve as nicely as chicken or turkey do - and really don't have near the amount of meat. We found the duck to be very VERY rich -- but that is I'm sure because I didn't know about rendering the fat. Ours was a 7 lb. duck, and it would have fed 4 people... just. We only had 3 and did have enough for one more serving left.

I really enjoyed reading about your experience with the goose! :)