Friday, 7 January 2011

G is for... Golden goose with goose fat potatoes

This was the first time I have roasted a goose, largely because I always spend Christmas at my parents' house where my mother cooks the bulk of everything and I just help with the trimmings and bring the cake. The goose went down extremely well and many "oohs" were made as I entered with the bird and after the bulk was eaten, the bones were thoroughly picked. After the initial palava of pulling out the bag of giblets and washing the bird inside and out and cutting out the internal pads of fat and then disinfecting the sink and surfaces (I am my mother's daughter), the rest of the cooking was fairly straightforward. One thing I didn't do, having read about it after G night had already been cooked, eaten and washed up after, was this wonderful tip from Michel Roux Jr: namely, to turn the bird (whatever it is - duck, pheasant, goose) upside down while it is resting, so that all the juices run back into the flesh to make the meat more succulent and juicy. I'll be trying that next time, for sure.

Golden goose

Preheat the oven to 240 C (220 C Fan)

1 goose
3 lemons, halved
2 onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, broken into cloves but left unpeeled
A bunch of thyme
3 bay leaves
A little olive oil
Salt and pepper
A scattering of Szechuan peppercorns, ground in a pestle and mortar

If the goose has been trussed, snip off the string. Generously salt the inside cavity of the bird and then stuff it with the lemons, onions, garlic and herbs. Smooth a little oil over the top (not much though, it's just to ensure the seasoning will stick) and season generously with the salt and pepper. Scatter over the Szechuan pepper and tent the goose in foil. Place in the oven for ten minutes and then reduce the temperature to 190 C (170 C Fan) and cook for 30 minutes per kilo. Baste the goose every half an hour or so and take the foil off for the last 45 minutes of cooking so that the skin becomes deliciously golden and crisp. Don't forget to strain the fat into some kilner jars to keep - you'll get at least 2 pints of fat from one goose. Rest the bird for half an hour before carving.

Goose fat roast potatoes

Roast potatoes cooked in goose fat are a spud lover's heaven. Goose fat can reach amazingly high temperatures without burning, which means the outsides of your potatoes will get crispy and crunchy while the insides stay floury and soft, without a hint of greasiness. If you feel like adding garlic to the roasting tray, go for it, but I opted against it as I already had garlic puree on the menu. 

Preheat the oven to 200 C (180 C Fan)

1 kilo of floury potatoes - Maris Piper, King Edwards or Desiree are all good choices
2 tablespoons of goose fat
Sea salt and pepper

Peel and chop the potatoes, so that they have plenty of flat edges to crisp up. Parboil the potatoes in salty water and drain in a colander. Give them a good shake to rough up the edges. Meanwhile, heat the goose fat in a roasting tray for a few minutes so it melts down. Toss in the potatoes and stir them around so they are fully coated in the fat. Sprinkle over sea salt and pepper (if you wish) and pop them in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden, crisp and crunchy.    
Jane from Really Hungry picking the bones 

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