Roasted Goose

Roasted Goose

Roasted goose is a holiday tradition in various parts of the world. Read on for roasting tips and delicious stuffing recipes.

Basics for Roasting Your Goose

  1. Whether stuffed or not, pierce the bird’s skin all over with a meat fork to let the fat ooze out as it liquifies — a sort of self-basting process. *For extra crisp and tasty skin, rub it all over with a cut lemon, sprinkle with salt, and dust with a little flour.
  2. Place the goose uncovered and breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, with a meat thermometer inserted deep into the inside thigh muscle.
  3. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven for six minutes per pound, then reduce heat to 325°F and allow an additional 12 minutes per pound.

I find it best to get the goose into the oven a little ahead of schedule, as sometimes it takes longer than it should and there’s nothing worse than an underdone goose when hungry diners are waiting expectantly around the holiday table.

Geese are easy to cook, requiring nothing but a roasting pan and a rack. Like all heritage breeds, the goose needs slow, gentle cooking for a crisp skin and a succulent moist interior. Photo courtesy of

You will know your goose is cooked when the thermometer reads 185°F and the stuffing (if you have it) reaches a temperature of 165°F. If you have no thermometer, you can test for doneness by pressing the meaty portion of the leg between protected fingers; it should feel soft. Then prick the thigh with a fork; the juices running out should not be pink. The skin should be golden and crisp.

During the last few minutes of roasting, after the fat has been melted off and spooned away (as described in “Rendering Goose Fat”), you can give your bird the gourmet touch by basting it.

My favorite baste combines l/2 tablespoon of sherry or brandy with 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons honey, and l/2 teaspoon seasoned salt.

Brush your basting mixture over the goose 15 minutes before it’s scheduled to be done, and then again moments before you remove it from the oven.

Whether or not you have basted, skim the final pan drippings to make into delicious gravy to serve over the sliced meat, biscuits, potatoes, or stuffing.

Arrange the finished goose on a large platter surrounded by sweet potatoes, baked apples, or other favorite trimmings, and be prepared for the “oohs” and “aahs” as you arrive at the Christmas table with your homegrown roasted goose.

Rendering Goose Fat

A goose collects fat in its abdomen, at the base of its neck, and under its skin. After the goose has been plucked and chilled, the abdominal and neck fat firms up and may easily be peeled away. To save it by melting it down — or rendering — cut it into smaller chunks, put it in a saucepan over low heat, and warm it gently until the fat turns into a golden liquid. Take care not to let it get so hot it splatters or burns. Some people add a cup of water to the rendering fat, which evaporates by the time the fat liquifies and meanwhile helps keep the fat from turning brown.

The fat under the skin melts off during roasting. If you wish to save it, spoon it out about every half hour during roasting to keep it from browning. Do not baste the bird during this time, which is unnecessary anyway and would spoil the flavor of the rendered fat. In my experience, the fat that renders during roasting is never as pure as that rendered in a saucepan, so I keep it separate and use it primarily for pan frying.

In both cases, strain off and discard solid pieces and other impurities, pour the rendered fat into a jar, and store it in the refrigerator. Clean fat may be kept in the refrigerator for a long time — as much as a year — but is so good, you will probably use it up long before then. It may be used wherever you might otherwise use butter, shortening, lard, bacon drippings, and the like. (My husband grew up enjoying rendered goose fat spread on bread and sprinkled with a little salt. The secret ingredient in my oatmeal cookies everyone raves about is — ta-da — goose fat instead of shortening.)

Good Stuff for Stuffing Your Goose

Apple Orange Stuffing

  • 6 cups day-old bread crumbs 2 cups diced tart apples
  • l cup diced orange sections l/2 cup raisins
  • l/2 cup chopped pecans
  • l teaspoon salt
  • l/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • l/2 cup orange juice
  • l/4 cup melted butter

Mix ingredients together and stuff the goose.

Sauerkraut Stuffing

  • l cup chopped onions
  • l/4 cup butter
  • 2 pounds drained sauerkraut
  • l cup shredded raw potato
  • l teaspoon salt
  • l/2 teaspoon caraway seed (optional) l/4 teaspoon pepper
  • l/2 cup white wine

Sauté onions in butter until transparent, then combine remaining ingredients and stuff the goose.

Pineapple Orange Stuffing

  • l/4 cup chopped onion
  • l-l/2 cup chopped celery
  • 6 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cup cooked rice
  • l-l/2 teaspoons orange rind
  • 3/4 cup orange sections
  • 3/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • l/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • l teaspoon salt
  • l-l/4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger dash cardamom
  • orange or pineapple juice

Sauté onions and celery in butter until transparent, then combine remaining ingredients, adding enough juice to just moisten.

Originally published as part of Raising Geese for Meat: A Home-Grown Holiday Goose.

Originally published in December 2011 / January 2012 and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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