My Goose Is (not) Cooked!
December 18, 2009 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Newbie cook seeks fool-proof recipe for roast goose, for a dinner party tomorrow night.

The details:
--It's a 12 pound goose, frozen (but currently defrosting in the fridge.)
--Needs to be ready for a party tomorrow evening.
--We'd ideally like to keep the excess goose fat to render for future dishes.

Neither my boyfriend or I have ever cooked a goose, and all the recipes we're finding online seem to wildly differ on technique. We are looking for the safest, most delicious and straight-forward roasted goose recipe you've got!

(Please don't post a recipe unless you've actually used that exact recipe. I can google goose recipes to my heart's content, but I need to feel assured that this is the most fool-proof one.) Please save my dinner from disaster!

Thank you!
posted by np312 to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is not an answer to your question, so it might get deleted, but I feel compelled to say so anyway:

1st rule of cooking for is: For the love of all that is good, please refrain from trying something new for a dinner party. It spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.

Good luck to you though, I hope someone provides you with something fool-proof enough to get it right the first time.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:04 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

SECONDING in a BIG WAY sunshinesky. Never, ever try a new recipe for a dinner party. It's a sure-fire way to completely and totally stress yourself out.

That said, a friend recommends the goose recipe on Epicurious. No, I have never done it myself, but she has.
posted by cooker girl at 5:08 PM on December 18, 2009

I cooked goose for Christmas last year. It came out pretty good, but took much longer to prepare than I anticipated. I used the Cook's Illustrated recipe (registration required).
posted by roofone at 5:10 PM on December 18, 2009

Just to say-- we have a backup easy main course in case the goose is bad. But we really wanted to give this a shot. And our friends are very forgiving. :)
posted by np312 at 5:12 PM on December 18, 2009

Jeffrey Steingarten's recipe is the only one that I've ever tried that hasn't come out badly.

Also, you really need the kind of roasting pan illustrated there, with the slanted rack. Trying to cook a goose in a regular chicken roaster leads to less-than-yummy results; trying to cook a goose in an aluminum foil roasting pan leads to kitchen fires.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:13 PM on December 18, 2009

Good to know about the pan. Thanks! Any other hints like that are very helpful.
posted by np312 at 5:25 PM on December 18, 2009

I cooked a goose years ago. It came out okay. I used The Joy of Cooking (1964) recipe, but I made some changes. First of all Rombauer recommends roasting for fifteen minutes before stuffing. I didn't. She also suggests just filling the cavity with some root vegetables and discarding them after roasting. I made a stuffing of prunes, apples, onions, sage, and some bread. If I had it to do all over again I would add some wild rice and oregano in place of the sage.
Basically the bird roasts at 350 for about 20-25 minutes to the pound. You can preheat the oven to 450 and turn it down immediately after putting the goose in the oven (or not. I did).
The tricky part is all the fat. Prick the bird all over with a fork (don't neglect the legs and thighs). You must must must have that bird on a rack and still will have to suck up the fat to keep the bottom of the goose from frying (which probably wouldn't be a disaster as there is little meat on the back. You may have to prick again from time to time during the roasting. Baste with red wine after the first two hours and every once in a while after. This helps draw the fat from under the skin. You should have no problem browning the beast.
This was cool to do once -- Dickens and all -- but less interesting (to me) than a turkey. The meat is pork-like and dark. I expect a good farmyard goose has the best flavor but overall, meh. Alton Brown did a recent show where he butterflied the bird and dried it in his refrigerator for three days before roasting. It might be worth looking for this on-line. (He used a duck, but only because he couldn't find a goose.)
One more thing, a really savory sauce, like a Cumberland sauce, is better than cranberries with this. I used a currant and Oregon grape sauce supplied by my guests and it was great.
posted by CCBC at 5:34 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here you go, works for duck also. Once it's defrosted right before you are ready to cook it, put it in a pot of boiling water to open up it's pores.

Use a combination of vinegar and some sort of sugar based syrup/ I have used apple cider and maple syrup or molasses and apply liberally with a brush right after you pull the goose out from the water and dry it off. 3 to 1 ratio.

This part of the process will do 2 things- help to pull some of the fat out of the goose and give the skin that great color/texture you think of when you think of goose.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 and cook for about 30 minutes in a roasting pan with a grate so it's not sitting in it's own fat/juices.

Turn the oven down to 350 and let cook until your thermometer probe reaches around 160. Make sure to check the breast and the legs/thighs.

You can also stuff the cavity with things such as cinnamon, clove, garlic, rosemary, thyme, apples, etc.

Make sure you let it rest before carving. This is pretty much the same as you would cook a turkey, just a little smaller.
posted by TheBones at 5:41 PM on December 18, 2009

My father barbecued a goose a few years ago for christmas. Turned out pretty well, nice and tender. But the fat that thing generated was SO hard to manage, even with a pan to catch the drippings... lots of fire and flare-ups, we had the extinguisher at hand just in case. I think the "roasting and draining the fat" method is the best way to go... just piping up in case you were considering the bbq instead.
posted by lizbunny at 5:56 PM on December 18, 2009

I have roasted geese a few times -- I don't recall it being particularly tricky, so any reputable recipe should be fine. The only comment I would make is that the first time I cooked a goose I was amazed at how little meat was on such an apparently large bird. Being used to modern chickens and turkeys it was a shock to discover how unfavorable the meat to carcass ratio was -- you'll be glad that you have other food if you feeding more than about six people.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 6:01 PM on December 18, 2009

Whatever you do, save the fat - goose fat is the best in the world for frying potatoes!

A pound or two of diced yukon golds fried in a 1/4 cup or so of goose fat, with sea salt and fresh pepper = heaven.
posted by gyusan at 6:49 PM on December 18, 2009

I've never roasted a goose, but I have roasted duck, and as I understand it the process is similar.

I recommend Bittman's Roast Goose recipe from How to Cook Everything. It's pretty much how Ma taught me to tackle duck.

Also, this may help:

How to Roast a Goose

How to Roast a Goose (Cat Cora) Video series: Ingredients for Cooking a Goose, Equipment for Cooking a Goose, How to Prep a Goose for Cooking, How to Season a Goose for Roasting, How to Place a Goose in the Oven, How to Baste a Roasting Goose, Tips for Basting a Goose, Tips for Final Basting of a Roasting Goose, How to Remove a Cooked Goose from the Oven, How to Extract Fat From a Goose, How to Deglaze a Pan for Roasting Goose, How to Make Roux From a Roast Goose, How to Use Pan Juices When Cooking a Goose, How to Carve a Cooked Goose, and How to Serve a Goose for Christmas.

Quinbus ain't lying: goose and duck have very little meat on them. And to reiterate, sunshinesky and cookergirl have it right--never try a new recipe for a dinner party.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:54 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd go with the Cook's Illustrated recipe. I haven't tried it but their recipes are thoroughly tested and you'll even get to find out in the article *how* it was tested and what changes were made to make it work right. I've made tons of CI recipes and they are by far the most reliable. Their version might seem more complicated but that's because they really do tell you every step in great detail.

Also, I almost always make something new for dinner parties and it's usually just fine.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:04 PM on December 18, 2009

If you are still awake, take that bird out of the fridge or set the fridge on high temp. These things take forever to thaw, days. A traditional approach is throw it into a cooler, no ice. It will keep itself cold enough for safety yet warm enough to thaw. If you read this as you are waking up, check it and if frozen go the water bath route.

The good thing about cooking a goose is that you have to work hard to screw it up, unlike lower fat birds, like say a turkey. Don't cook a frozen bird, and cook it to the right temp and it will be great. The one cooking thing to watch is that a goose will let loose a ton of fat. Put it into a deep roasting pan and elevate it off of the bottom, otherwise you are making confit instead of roasted goose.
posted by caddis at 10:22 PM on December 18, 2009

Never done goose myself, but in re:

These things take forever to thaw, days. A traditional approach is throw it into a cooler, no ice. It will keep itself cold enough for safety yet warm enough to thaw. If you read this as you are waking up, check it and if frozen go the water bath route.

If you're finding it's not sufficiently defrosted, cool running water will have it de-iced much quicker than just letting it sit in a water bath or a cooler. Doesn't have to be a lot, just a consistent trickle running over a bird placed in a bowl in the sink. I know because Alton tells me so. (Well, what he said was some stuff about convection, but what he showed was a bunch of duck-shaped ice cubes left to defrost under varied conditions, and slow trickle of cold running water duck twern't nothin' but a puddle.)
posted by Diablevert at 12:14 AM on December 19, 2009

As with any roasted bird, use a meat thermometer to verify that it's cooked.
Can Safely Cooked Duck and Goose Be Pink?
Cooked muscle meats can be pink even when the meat has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. If fresh duck or goose has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer, even though it may still be pink in the center, it should be safe. The pink color can be due to the cooking method or added ingredients. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures.

posted by theora55 at 10:54 AM on December 20, 2009

Thanks everyone for the tips! We put them into play, ended up doing an amalgamation of different recipes, and the bird turned out perfectly. It was a big hit. I don't think I'll cook goose again anytime soon due to how expensive it is (80 bucks for a 12 lb bird) compared to how little meat it yields, but it was a tasty treat and looked very impressive on a platter.

If anyone wants the exact recipe we came up with, just memail me.
posted by np312 at 12:31 PM on December 20, 2009

« Older Account coordinator - what's it like?   |   Our mouse is a very very very stubborn mouse Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.