Sunday, December 30, 2007

My First Roast Goose

While watching A Dickens's Christmas Carol and the Muppet's Christmas Carol this year, I found myself wondering about foods of Christmas past. I might have mentioned this previously but would Roast Goose make Christmas seem more...well more like Christmas? So I decided to have Goose for Christmas dinner this year.

I personally don't have a scullery maid with a cute Cockney accent to send to the butchers for a goose and didn't remember seeing any at the local supermarket. So I decided to order off the Internet. It didn't take me long to find Schiltz Goose Farms in South Dakota. I browsed the website to ensure it was a company that I felt comfortable doing business with and to try to find out if hopefully they raised their geese as humanely as possible. They do have several geese products marked as free range available. In the end because along with not having a scullery maid I also don't have a jolly, old cook in the kitchen, I decided to go with the Pre-roasted Goose. Not being sure what size to order, I figured the smallest size would be fine since I wasn't brave enough to invite over company this year for a goose dinner.

Upon putting in my order for the 6 1/2 pound pre-roasted goose, I noticed that I had waited too close to Christmas and unless I paid extra shipping (more than the cost of the bird) it would not arrive by Christmas. So feeling a little pinched by the cost of presents this year, I decided not to pay the extra shipping. Christmas dinner would just have to wait until the weekend for us. (Besides aren't there 12 days of Christmas anyway?) The company promptly contacted me by email to ensure that I knew the goose would not arrive until after Christmas. I emailed them back and told them that wasn't a problem.

The Goose arrived as expected on Friday. The goose was wrapped in plastic and felt heavier than 6 1/2 pounds. (Found out the next day that probably due to the ice packs wrapped in.) The bird barely fit in our little freezer but luckily it did. Next began the search for a roasting pan. I was expecting to find one for around $10 and did at Target however it didn't have a rack included in it. There was a roaster on sale for $17 with a little rack in it however since this is an experiment and I'm not sure if I will ever roast something again if this goose doesn't turn out...I felt the $17 could wait. We ended up finding a disposable roasting pan for a few dollars at the local supermarket.

Saturday evening we set the oven temperature to 380 degrees (instructions said 375 degrees but I don't think our oven heats up quite as well as new ones.) We unwrapped the goose out of several layers of plastic and ice packs. At that point it looked more like a 6 1/2 pound bird although still larger than I might have originally imagined it when I ordered it. Here is a picture of it frozen:

We put a little water in the bottom of the pan and stuck it in the oven for 75 minutes. Checking every so often to ensure there was still some water in the pan. I've read about goose roasting being a messy business but this pre-roasted goose was very simple. It took the goose about 85 or 90 minutes in our oven until the timer popped up. The 6 1/2 lb goose made enough for 2 hungry adults and 2 children (who were suspicious of the goose so ate only a little.) It seems like easily enough meat for a family of 4 or 5 (as long as the kids are not teenage boys with big appetites!) We also had mashed potatoes with it. The goose meat was dark and moist but not greasy. The color of all the goose meat looked darker than dark turkey meat. It almost looked more like pork than poultry. We saved the legs for later with some leftovers so not sure yet what the legs taste like. The breast meat was my favorite. Where turkey breast meat is so dry that you need a cup of water or gravy to choke down a few bites of deserty dryness, the goose breast was very moist & flavorful! Overall goose tasted like duck to me but with less fat deposits & more meat. The goose skin turned out crispy and was delicious - a combination of crispy, yet slightly chewy, and only a little bit fatty. The skin was thicker than chicken skin.

Next came the kitty leftover test. I gave little pieces of the leftovers to our cats. Two enjoyed it and two turned their noises up to it. One cat who wouldn't touch it won't eat any human food except for fig newtons. The two cats who enjoyed it...REALLY enjoyed it. They both licked their mouths like crazy after each bite and stayed to eat every scrap I gave them (normally if I give them chicken, they would eat just one or two little pieces and then walk off.) The eldest cat after her first bite looked surprised and then started purring like a mac truck rumbling by!

So overall Roast Goose was a success. I would definitely consider ordering it again next year although I think I'd make a side sauce/gravy just to add an interesting extra flavor to the dinner. The pre-roasted goose turned out so well, I'm not sure if I would be brave enough to try to order a raw one next year and perform the whole roasting process myself...guess I have a whole year to think about it.

Merry Christmas!

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