"I enjoy cooking goose at home if only once a year. A good free-range goose isn't cheap but is thoroughly worth the investment for an event such as Christmas," says Andrew McConnell. "A large bird can feed up to eight people and can be treated with the same approach you'd take for cooking a duck. (In fact, this recipe works equally well with a duck of similar weight.) It's delicious with carrots roasted in honey and thyme or radicchio leaves tossed in a seeded mustard dressing."
Start this recipe two days ahead to dry the goose skin.
- 1 goose (about 3kg; see note) or large duck
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 200 ml red wine
- 200 ml port
- 50 ml red wine vinegar
- 5 fresh bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 3 whole cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp coarsely ground black peppercorns
- 10 golden shallots, unpeeled
- 80 gm walnuts
- 50 gm pitted prunes, finely chopped
- Finely grated rind of ½ orange
- Roasted Dutch carrots and dressed radicchio leaves, to serve
- 1Place goose on a tray and refrigerate uncovered for 2 days to dry out skin.
- 2Separate neck, wings and legs from goose carcass and reserve, then cut through ribs and down through the spine to separate the crown, and remove wishbone. You'll be left with the breasts attached to the upper part of the frame (see note). Reserve bones and trimmings, remove excess skin from neck and lower frame and cut bones into 3cm pieces. Bring crown to room temperature (2 hours).
- 3Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan over high heat until almost smoking, then add onion and bones and fry, stirring occasionally, until caramelised (8-10 minutes). Deglaze pan with wine, port and vinegar, scraping base, and simmer for 2 minutes, then add bay, thyme, spices, goose legs and 125ml water. Reduce heat to low, cover surface with baking paper, cover pan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer until legs are tender (40-50 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside in braise.
- 4Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C. Drizzle shallots with oil in a roasting pan and roast until tender (20 minutes). Once cool, snip pointy ends with scissors and remove a few layers to reveal the inner shallot.
- 5Blanch walnuts in salted boiling water (2-3 minutes), drain and rub off skins with paper towel.
- 6Increase oven to 250°C. Score the skin and fat of each breast 3 times (be careful not to cut into meat). Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and season. Place crown breast-side up on a wire rack in a roasting pan and roast until golden and internal temperature reaches 50°C or a metal skewer is warm to the touch when inserted into the thickest part of the breast for 20 seconds (15-20 minutes for rare). Remove goose, cover with foil and rest for 10-15 minutes.
- 7Remove legs from braise and separate thighs and drumsticks. Strain liquid into a saucepan, simmer to reduce for 5 minutes, then add shallots, walnuts, prunes and rind and simmer until thickened (2-3 minutes). Season to taste.
- 8To serve, reheat legs in the oven (5 minutes). Cut breasts from the crown (if they're a little pink, return to the oven briefly). Thickly slice and arrange on plates with a thigh or drumstick, roasted carrots and radicchio salad and spoon sauce over goose to serve.
Geese are available from select butchers and will likely need to be ordered ahead. Your butcher can also prepare the goose for you.Drink suggestion: Old Barossa shiraz. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.