Marco Pierre White trades the traditional Christmas turkey for a slightly less traditional Christmas goose. Find out how you can make the perfect golden goose if you decide to pluck up the courage and go for goose this year.

On Christmas Day, I’ll be forfeiting turkey in favour of roast goose — pretty radical for a traditionalist. And why not? Growing up, we used to have turkey on December 25, honey-roast ham on Boxing Day and goose on New Year’s Day. 

My father was a good cook—but not as good as me! He didn’t go in for many of the trimmings, which I think are essential. Stuffing is crucial, and although some people might serve bread sauce with goose, I’m opting for apple sauce instead. 

So, here are my tips for roast goose—and a happy Christmas to one and all!

Roast Goose

Ingredients

The bird
  • Goose (around 450g per person) 
  • Juniper berries 
  • Fresh thyme
Stuffing
  • Paxo (25g/person)
  • Sausage meat (25g/person)
  • 1 onion/4 servings
  • Sage to taste
Apple sauce
  • Cooking apples (allow 1 per person to ensure plenty of leftovers!)
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 lemon
Gravy
  • Chicken stockpot or Knorr cubes
  • A small glass of red wine
  • 1tbs cornflour

METHOD

COOKING THE BIRD
  1. Buy your bird from a reputable butcher who can answer any questions about where it came from.

  2. If you have a large pan, place the bird in water and bring to the boil. Then, after no more than five minutes, drain and pat the skin dry. This will release some of the fat, which helps turn the skin crispy when cooked. (You must avoid limp skin on a goose—if you don’t have a big enough pan, pour boiling water over the skin and pat it dry.)

  3. Tuck a few sprigs of thyme and some juniper berries in the creases of the bird before cooking for extra flavour. Place in a roasting tin and put on the bottom shelf of the oven at 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

  4. Cook slowly, allowing 35 minutes per kg.

  5. When you think the goose might be ready, stick a needle into the breast. If the juice comes out clear, you know it’s cooked. The skin should be nice and crispy at this stage—not fatty.
 
STUFFING
  1. Combine equal measures of Paxo and sausage meat, allowing around 25g/person of each.

  2. Fry the diced onions and chopped sage.

  3. Blend everything together and then cook on a low heat for 10–15 mins.

  4. Season to taste—and serve.
 
APPLE SAUCE
  1. Peel, core and slice some large cooking apples.

  2. Place in a pan on a low heat and add a tiny bit of water and a generous knob of butter.

  3. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and cook for 15 minutes.

  4. Only add sugar after it’s cooked—if you think the sauce needs it.

  5. Serve either hot or cold.
 
GRAVY
  1. Remove the goose from the roasting pan and place on a large, warmed platter.

  2. Drain the fat from the roasting pan, but don’t throw it away.

  3. Add some chicken stockpot or Knorr cubes (according to the strength of gravy you want) to the roasting pan and pour in a pint of water over it.

  4. Add a small glass of red wine.

  5. Add a touch of cornflour according to the thickness you prefer, and stir it in thoroughly.

  6. Add a touch of gravy browning according to the colour you like.

  7. Add a little of the fat you have drained off, make sure it’s heated through, then pour it into a warm jug and serve.

 

Marco Pierre White, the “godfather” of modern British cooking, is a restaurateur and TV personality.

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