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Goose for Thanksgiving


Le Forgeron
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So, I'm thinking about cooking a goose for Thanksgiving. Now, mind you, I have never cooked or tasted one, but I am cooking a small dinner for just myself and 2 friends, none of which are especially fixated on the idea of a turkey.

Do you cook it similar to a turkey? Does it taste more like duck?

Any and all advice appreciated.

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I cook or roast goose in two steps because it has an incredible amount of fat. And I do it over a 2-day period.

First, I prick the skin all over with a sharp fork, then roast it in a covered roasting pan that has water in the bottom (to keep the fat from burning) at 325 degrees F.

The time will depend on the size of the goose.

When the internal temp in the thickest part of a thigh has reached 145 degrees F., I remove it from the oven, set the bird on a rack and turn a fan on it to cool it as rapidly as possible. Meanwhile I recover the fat from the pan, chill and refrigerate it. (better to chill it before putting it into the fridge - I just surround the container with blue ice backs wrapped in towels).

The next day, I prepare a pre-cooked dressing, usually containing apples, etc., stuff the cavity, rub the exposed skin of the goose with a couple of tablespoons of the saved fat, season with salt and pepper, and put the bird in an uncovered roaster in the oven at 350 degrees F.

When the thigh temp reaches 160, remove it from the oven, immediately remove the dressing and let the goose "coast" for 40 minutes before carving.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've cooked goose a number of times, but at Christmas rather than Thanksgiving. My Mom's family never had turkey because my great-grandmother raised geese. I cook it the way my grandmother taught me. And I wrote down her directions in her words:

To Cook A Goose

7 to 9 pound goose

salt and pepper

1 apple, quartered

4 to 6 celery tops

1 onion, quartered, Optional

"Get a nice goose and cut off all the fat you can see. Wash body cavity real good and drain. Cut off skin up at neck. Dry off real good after he drips awhile. Put salt and pepper inside him and put the apple and celery tops in the cavity.

"You need a roasting pan with a rack. Every so often lift him out and put him in the lid. Drain off all the fat. Put him back in the oven baking at 350°F for 18-20 minutes per pound. You have to prick the skin around the groin to let the fat drain. Be careful! It'll pop out at you. Can raise the temperature at the end to brown him good. Let him sit awhile before carving.

"You can save the fat to use later for chicken and dumplings instead of butter. My Mother always put apple in the goose, but the onion is good too, either with or without the apple."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While her directions are not terribly specific, I've never had any trouble with the goose not turning out well. Good luck!

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So, I'm thinking about cooking a goose for Thanksgiving.  Now, mind you, I have never cooked or tasted one, but I am cooking a small dinner for just myself and 2 friends, none of which are especially fixated on the idea of a turkey.

Do you cook it similar to a turkey?  Does it taste more like duck?

Any and all advice appreciated.

The cooking suggestions made by others seem fine to me, so let me address your other question.

The taste of goose is really quite surprising if you've never had it before. It's actually more suggestive of good beef like prime rib than it is like other poultry.

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about ten years ago, before i had any concept of how to cook a bird, i thought to myself, "hey, a christmas goose sounds great!". i had never had goose nor had i ever done anything more complicated than a (badly roasted but still tastey) chicken.

i ended up roasting the goose for 6+ hours in a pan at 350 with the bird sitting in it's own fat the whole time. greasy doesn't even begin to describe it. it was pale, tough, soaked through with oil. imagine equal parts stock-scum-plus-solids and crisco. I think that's the only time i've ever thrown christmas dinner away.

Please delete my account from eGullet

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Goose is a great meal for a few people, but you need to be aware of the hands on cooking process to remove fat ( pricking, pouring off, etc) and also that the bird looks big but had a large empty chest cavity so it is really only going to serve maybe 4 depending on the sides. My first one was for Christmas and I used a method I had read about- prick all over, use very high heat to start to render fat, pour boiling water over to help with the process. At some point when it looks like grease is coming out of those pricked holes, you pour shlivovitz (Croatian plum brandy) over it, flame it, and finish the roast at a lower temp. It was a good meal, but you need the right audience.

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Surprised that so far nobody has mentioned that lovely goose fat that you get.

Goose fat IMHO is absolutely the best. Better than duck fat any day. Use it for sautes, coating potatoes to be roasted and so forth.

Its wonderful stuff; light, flavorful and just plain delicious.

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I agree with Dave and will go even further. To me, the fat that is rendered is the only reason to cook a goose. The yield is very small. We didn't find the meat all that great. But that fat. Swoony! If you decide to do one - roast potatoes and sweet and sour red cabbage are the best side dishes! Make sure to report!!

Kim

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I was considering making both a turkey and a goose for Thanksgiving. Actually, I love everything about roast goose--the meat, liver "cook's treat," the crispy skin, the fat but especially the drippings and the stock I make using the wing tips and giblets and neck, is the most delicious gravy ever, almost a cross between very rich turkey gravy and beef gravy. Sorry, that description is not the best but the gravy is deliciously unreal.

Also, andiesenji I considered making a stuffing for the goose but I've seen two camps on this: 1) it's too greasy a bird to stufff and 2) stuffing is just fine. I'd really like to try my hand at using a stuffing to be eaten and not just one for flavoring.

Edited because I forgot how to spell the word "two." :wacko:

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Perhaps my mention of the goose fat recovery wasn't clear, but it is important because goose fat is a wonderful benefit of cooking goose.

That being said, here are a few links to good advice about cooking your goose:

Long and slow cooking goose

specific advice on size to buy, and recipes

And some good advice from USDA

And, here is an earlier thread about this subject: cooking a goose.

I have also had excellent results with goose (2) cooked on a rotisserie in a barbecue with the coals raked into ridges off to each side and a pan, actually a couple of long loaf pans, directly under the geese (fastened end to end on the spit) to catch the dripping fat. It was very cold outside and even in the protected area of the deck, the wind was howling and I wanted to make as few trips to check on the bird as possible. This was one of the first times I made use of the remote temperature probe with the alarm set for a certain temp.

I used well dried apple and citrus wood as I did not want a smokey flavor.

The two geese, along with several side dishes, served twelve people.

Of course, with roasting it this way, there was no stuffing in the cavity but with the addition of a little of the goose fat, harvested an hour into the roasting, baking it in a casserole was just fine.

and here is more detail about spit roasting

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Wow, thanks for all the great advice andiesenji. So I guess when it comes to stuffing, a goose is very forgiving, given the method of cooking?

I've actually roast goose before, but only stuffed the bird to add flavor with as I recall roughly chopped apples, oranges, onions, celery, salt and pepper. Can't remember if I used any herbs.

I won't be cooking for that many people so my thinking was, as usual, the turkey will be the main event large enough for plenty of servings and leftovers and the goose would be something extra and little different for the table.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Thanks for all the great advice. I am definitely excited to try it. The guests are bringing dessert and side dishes, so I will have plenty of time to deal with the goose and drink wine!!

I will be sure to let you know how it all turns out!

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Surprised that so far nobody has mentioned that lovely goose fat that you get.

Goose fat IMHO is absolutely the best. Better than duck fat any day. Use it for sautes, coating potatoes to be roasted and so forth.

Its wonderful stuff; light, flavorful and just plain delicious.

I completely agree. My grandmother and her Mom taught me to always save the goose fat. There is some in my freezer right now.

Edited by decolady (log)
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Was today the day you cooked your goose? I can never remember when American Thanksgiving is . . .

I love goose and try to do it a few times each year. We have local suppliers who raise fantastic "free range organic birds" which are a bit pricey but deee-lish! Like farmed duck these guys are a lot fattier than their wild cousins.

I do the Julia Child thing - prick the skin all over and steam it breast side up prior to roasting. A big goose will yield litres of fat - pure liquid gold!

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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No, not yet Peter. Thursday is Thanksiving here. I'm from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and have been living in Maine for a few years, but this is the first time I've attemped a Thanksgiving dinner, American or Canadian version.

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No, not yet Peter.  Thursday is Thanksiving here.  I'm from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and have been living in Maine for a few years, but this is the first time I've attemped a Thanksgiving dinner, American or Canadian version.

I missed your location before - be sure to share a photo of your bird of choice.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Well, the goose turned out pretty well. I roughly followed a recipe from Epicurious for Roast Goose with Carmalized Apples. I think I overcooked it by half an hour though-parts of the breast were a bit dry, although the apples layered on the top went a long way to disguise it, and complemented the taste. I don't know how to describe the taste of the plain goose- a bit gamey, a bit chewy. Kind of like duck, but with a stronger flavor. Definetely tasty. My friend brought corn pudding, a spicey bread stuffing, and cranberry sauce. We had a german chocolate cake that for dessert that I made this morning.

Very enjoyable! I got about 3 cups of fat from the goose for later uses. (and it was only a 10 pound goose!)

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