Cook My Goose
December 14, 2012 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Holiday Goose Help

I'm planning a dinner for 11 this weekend. I have a 10lb goose hanging out in the fridge, which I'm planning to roast whole, with no stuffing. I've never cooked a fatty bird like this before and I'm a little nervous. The rest of the menu is:

- wild mushroom bread pudding (we foraged hedgehogs and yellow foot chanterelles)
-goose fat potatoes
-warm brussels sprouts salad with bacon and red wine vinegarette
-green beans (a guest is bringing these)

And for dessert I'm making candy cap sables, I might make some vanilla ice cream to go with. Or butter pecan.

The goose I'm not quite sure exactly the best way to do it. I've read about steaming it the day before, soaking it overnight in salted water, boiling it, and just roasting it after scoring the skin. I have no idea what would be best or why. Help? I'm also unclear on the basting issue.

I'm also worried that the bird is too small for so many people. I'm thinking that with such rich sides and goose being kind of "exotic" it'll be fine, but I was also considering Second Meat. Do I need it?

I've read this, among lots of other (less helpful) material but I still feel unclear/confused. I do have a proper roasting pan and I do not have a meat thermometer (not opposed to buying one if I really need it). Everyone coming knows this is my first time with a goose - I'm not really concerned with the possibility that it might not come out perfectly. I'm very competent in the kitchen and frequently try out new recipes on guests.

Thanks in advance for any help!
posted by tealcake to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know the answer to anything other than the size. 10 lbs for 11 people will not be enough. Well, if everyone only wants a small slice or two, maybe, but it won't be normal entree sized portions of meat.
posted by k5.user at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2012

You're not going to get enough meat off a 10 lb goose for 11 people as a main course, but it should be enough for everyone to get a taste.

I cooked one last year for Christmas, and here's what I did:

-Scald the bird the day before. Boil some water in a large pot, and then put the bird in the boiling water for just a minute. Pat dry, stash back in the fridge. (My pot wasn't quite large enough, so I had to dip the bird halfway, pull it out, and then do the other side. Wear mitts you don't mind getting greasy, because even a short time like that in hot water will start melting some fat.)

-About an hour before roasting, I pulled it out of the fridge and pricked the skin all over with a sharp knife. This will help draw subcutaneous fat out as the skin shrinks during cooking.

-Make sure your roasting pan is very, very deep. Seriously, there's going to be a lot of fat coming off this thing. It's not fun cleaning up spilled goose fat, so be careful.

-Cook the goose like any other fowl, really. Salt and pepper the outside. I usually start with a hot oven (450 or so), put the bird in, and then immediately drop the heat down to the proper roasting temperature.

I did not baste the bird nor felt like it really needed it. Scoring the skin will force rendered fat out all over the goose, so it's pretty much self-basting.

Second Meat is a good idea. Save all that goose fat or your Goose Roasting License will be revoked.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:08 PM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, 10 pounds of goose isn't much for eleven people: Second Meat is a good idea. (Ham would be a nice complement.)

When you roast that goose, make sure it's on a raised rack, so it's not sitting in all that goose-grease it'll produce.
posted by easily confused at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2012

Do you really cook it to 165? That seems high to me - I read on some hunter's blog that he likes his at 135. His pictures showed the goose a little more rare than I generally prefer my meat. Cooking times seem all over the place. I've seen everything from roasting for 30 minutes at a high temp then letting it sit in the unopened oven for an hour (this seems like way not enough cooking to me) to roasting for 4+ hours (which feels like obvious overkill).

What about a pork loin for Second Meat? I'm also thinking about some kind of shellfish pie... I saw something about a geoduck pie the other day. I think it might be too much work to mess with a geoduck in addition to everything else, but I think mussels/(regular)clams would be ok.

I think I'm covered on the roasting pan, mine is similar to this one, although it did not come with a thermometer! We will definitely be saving the fat. I also have plans to make soup from the carcass. Not wasting any part of this bird!
posted by tealcake at 12:57 PM on December 14, 2012

You don't want Rare Goose (Lord NO!).

Pork loin would be lovely for a second meat. I would NOT mess with a geoduck anything.

I do recommend a thermometer. They're very cheap and worthwhile. I've got the kind that has the long wire so the gauge sits on the counter/stove top while the probe is in the animal, and I don't have to open the oven while I cook. I can also set it to go off at the precise moment the beast is ready to emerge from the oven.

I did a brine for our turkey and that worked out well. I just don't think a fat bird like a goose needs it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:20 PM on December 14, 2012

Family owned and operated (not MY family), these folks can answer all your questions. The owner/operator will even take your phone call, and you're likely to hear her geese in the background...

Sassafras Valley Farms

I bought a goose from them last year, and they were extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Also, don't get scared when you hear all the popping and sizzling going on in the oven. It will be alarming.
posted by matty at 5:36 PM on December 14, 2012

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