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Christmas Goose Dinner Recipe

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This recipe for Christmas Goose Dinner, by , is from Goose Night, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.

Bill Criss
Added: Saturday, January 27, 2007


Duck Pate:
4 to 5 lb duck
1 lb of ground pork
1/4 cup of brandy
10 to 15 pistachios shelled and peeled
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1 large glove of garlic pureed
1 tsp allspice
2 bay leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper and thyme
1/4 tsp all spice
Brandy Aspic
Cilantro leaves to simulate holly leaves as garnish
Pink peppercorns to simulate holly berries

Goose Liver Pate (Foie Gras):
1/4 cup of chopped onion
goose liver weighed and matched with an equal amount of goose fat
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs of brandy
3 tbs of sweet butter

8 to 12 lb goose
1/4 cup of Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup of Kikkoman Soy
1/4 cup of Madeira or Sherry
1 tsp of Chinese five spices powder
1 carrot roughly chopped
1 celery stalk roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped
2 cups dry red wine

2 cups of Goose stock
1/4 cup of cornstarch or flour
Defatted pan and goose juices
Salt and pepper

8 cups of buttermilk bread croutons
4 cups of buttermilk sage cornmeal croutons
5 Granny Smith or green apples
1 lb (4 or 5 links) of mild Italian sausage
2 Tbs of brandy
1/4 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of port
1/2 cup of goose stock
1 1/2 cups of melted unsweetened butter
1 cup of chestnuts shelled, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 cups onion chopped
1 1/4 cups celery chopped
4 tbs of chopped parsely
Salt and pepper

Goose/veal stock:
4 lbs of veal bones cut in 2 or 3 inch pieces
3 celery stalks roughly chopped
3 leeks cleaned and roughly chopped,
1 onion roughly chopped
1 carrot roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Duck carcass, bones and parts (excluding liver)
Goose bones and parts (excluding liver)

Buttermilk Bread:
4 cups of unbleached bread flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
1 tbs salt
1 tbs sugar
3 tbs melted butter
2 packages of dry yeast
1/2 cup of warm (110 degree)water

Buttermilk and sage cornbread
1 cup of white bread flour
3/4 cup of yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tbs sage
1 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup sweet butter melted and cooled
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For this feast I usually make veal stock first and then prepare the duck pate at least two weeks in advance. The reason for this is to have the stock ready to make aspic for the pate and to let the duck pate absorb and settle its ingredients. Finally, doing the veal stock and duck pate early allows one to have duck parts and carcass to add to the veal stock both for the aspic for the pate and the remainder eventually as part of the ingredients for the goose stock for the goose gravy.

Veal/Goose Stock:

Add the fresh bones to a large stock pot and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Add about a gallon of water and the vegetables. Add the duck carcass and parts and the goose parts and bones if available. If not, make the veal stock first and cook with the duck and goose parts later by simmering the stock with these parts for about an hour or so. Simmer this pot about three to four hours, staining off any scum that rises to the top. Strain the stock well into a bowl using a good strainer and refrigerate. When cool scrape of the fat that has formed at the top and it is ready to use.

Duck Pate:

Remove the duck parts and excess fat from the duck. Remove the wish bone from the back of the duck and cut the duck down the back all the way along the back bone until it opens up and can be deboned from the inside out. Debone the duck starting with freeing the wing joints and slowly scrapping the meat from the carcass from the back to the front until the carcass can be removed entirely. Complete this process by cutting of the nubs of both legs and cutting the wings off at the first joint and scrapping each part down until the skin can be completely removed. Then slowly pull and cut the skin from the breast meat and remove each breast from the skin being careful not to tear the skin. Remove as much of the leg meat as can be cut or scrapped off. Save all the scraped meat. Cut the breast meat into long strips and store the strips along with the liver in a mixture of the brandy and allspice overnight. When ready to assemble pate, grind the duck meat in a food processor and mix with the ground pork, allspice, salt and pepper in a bowl with the eggs. Mix well, add the juices from the breast meat and live and set aside. In a well oiled bread pan or mold put the duck skin in much like you would a pie crust so that the skin can be filled with the pate mixture and then closed and cooked. With the skin in the pan, add 1/3rd of the duck and ground pork meat mixture layering on top of this the breast strips and a liver cut in strips putting rows of pistachios in between. Add one more layer like this and top off with the final 1/3rd of the meat mixture. Put two bay leaves on top and close the skin completely around the top. Cover and chill over night. Put the pan or mold in a larger pan of water and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about two hours or until 160 degrees temperature reading. Remove and let cool. When cool run off the excess fat and put about five pounds of weight on top of a flat cookie sheet on the top of the cooked pate to flatten the top before removing from its original pan. If it is not flat you can cut off the top flat to the pan with a good carving knife. Put in the refrigerator and store until you are ready to demold and cover the pate with aspic. In order to demold put the cold pate in the oven at 200 degrees for about ten minutes and then demold on an appropriate plate. Note that there will still be some excess fat to remove. Now you may optionally prepare aspic. Prepare the aspic using a cup and half of the veal/duck/goose stock, clarified using the egg white method (See Julia Child's "My Way to Cook" cookbook) down to about one cup. I put three flat cilantro leaves on the top of the pate with groups of small round cut-outs from red roasted peppers (I use the open end of a bulb baster to make the cut-outs) to simulate holly leaves and berries. I use the same bulb baster to make round indentations in the top of the pate to put the round red pepper cut-outs into so they don't move when I put on the aspic. Put the clarified stock in a small copper pot set over medium heat and add one packet of plain gelatin and a little brandy until it is dissolved. Then place the copper pot over ice until it begins to gel and spoon the aspic unto the duck pate covering the leaf and red pepper decorations on top and then the side. The duck pate is now ready.

Buttermilk Bread:

Mix the flour and salt in a mixer with a bread hook. Proof the yeast with the sugar and a half cup of 110 degree water. Have cool melted butter, yeast water and buttermilk ready to add to the flour mixture. Turn mixer with flour to low and slowly add the yeast mixture, then the butter and finally the buttermilk. It will take about a cup plus of butter milk. Add a cup first and slowly add more until you feel the flour is absorbed and will start to pull away from the bowl. Roll out unto a floured surface and knead the dough until a slight indent with the finger bounces back. Put back into a buttered bowl pushing down to mark the starting point and let rise in a warm area to twice the size. About one hour. Roll out dough and flatten to remove air bubbles and make two loaves in regular bread pans. Score the tops to prevent tearing and place in 375 degree oven for about 35 to 45 minutes or until a tap on the bottom of each loaf has that nice hollow sound.

Buttermilk Sage Cornbread

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 9 inch square bread pan or a 13 inch rectangular baking pan. Cook for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.

The Stuffing:

I stuff the goose with a combination of a dry buttermilk bread and cornbread stuffing and Julia Child's recipe for apple and sausage stuffing found in her original French cooking book. Cut enough buttermilk bread into 1/2 inch squares to make eight cups and enough buttermilk sage cornbread to make eight cups. Place squares in the oven for a few days to make stale. Then toast the squares on all or two sides to make croutons. Chop one and 1/4 cups of onions and one 1/4 cups of celery and one cup of chestnuts. Cook the onions until soft and translucent in 2 cups of unsweetened butter (about 10 minutes). Add the celery and cook another ten minutes. Add salt and pepper and thyme to taste. Mix with the croutons. It is intended to be dry with a nice butter taste. If you want it moist add some goose stock. Peel,core quarter the apples cutting each quarter further into 1/4 inch slices. Mix with the juice of one or two lemons to keep them from browning. Remove the sausage meat from their casings and lightly brown in frying pan trying to make it as grainy as possible. Remove the sausage mixture with a slotted spoon into a bowl. Boil down a 1/2 cup of port with 1/2 cup of goose stock to about 2 tbs and pour over the cooked sausage. Add a cup of chopped chestnuts to the sausage port mixture and mix well. Mix mixture with a fork to break up the sausage evenly. Cook the apples in the sausage grease for about 10 minutes until the apples become slightly brown and soft. Remove the apples to a bowl and sprinkle with a mixture of 1 tps of sugar,2 tbs of brandy and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of sage and 1/4 tsp of salt. Mix the apples with the sausage mixture and then mix this with the bread stuffing for the completed product.

The Goose:

The goose must first be properly thawed if not fresh and/or or thawed in advance by the butcher. Follow the directions for thawing on the packaging. This usually entails thawing in the fridge which can take days or setting the goose under gold running water. I think the frozen geese found in most markets serve as well as fresh geese which can be ordered either from the butcher or a catalog such as Williams Sonoma. For the price buy the frozen type. After many years of experimentation, including hanging the goose outside to dry the skin, I think the following slightly modified version of Julia Child's "My Way of Cooking" method of cooking duck and geese is the most fail-safe way to go. Once the goose is thawed enough to remove the parts inside the cavity which normally include the neck,kidney, heart and liver, remove these and set aside. Remove the excess fat from either end and set the fat aside and refrigerate until needed as well. The fat can later be rendered for other uses. At this point, it is a good time to cut out the wish bone, cut the tendons and the ball joints of the wings loose from inside the goose and to cut the legs free from the hip at the ball joints in the back of the goose to free for each leg. This procedure will make carving the very fatty goose much easier when it is done. Of course you need to sew up the holes cut in the back for each leg with twine when you truss the neck end of the goose for cooking. Finally, starting from the back of each breast I reach my hand inside along each breast breaking my way all the way through to the top of the legs on each side to separate the skin from the breast. This helps the skin crisp in the last stage of the roasting. You can also cut the end pieces of wings so that these and the other removed parts less the liver can be added to the veal stock and simmered for a few hours to make the goose stock for the gravy. Finally, using a sharp needle-like tool such as a trussing needle, prick holes all over the skin on the top of the goose. Make these holes at an angle so as not to pierce the meat below this layer. This insures the maximum draining the fat during cooking and will lead to crisper skin. I wipe the inside of the goose with the juice of one or two cut lemons and add salt and pepper inside the cavity. I leave the cut lemons inside the goose while it drys out for one day in the fridge. The next day I cover the outside of the goose with a mixture of a 1/4 cup of Sherry and a 1/4 cup each of Hoisin Sauce and 1/4 cup of Kikkoman soy and a tsp of Five Spice Powder well mixed and marinate the goose in the refrigerator at least another day in the fridge. Once the marination is complete, I prick the goose all over once more and then I put the goose on a rack in a covered braising pot big enough to hold the goose with the cover on for braising. I first fill the bottom of this pot with water and steam the goose on the range top burners at medium to medium low temperature for about 45 minutes to one hour depending on the weight to remove some of the fat. The range of weight would be 45 minutes for 10 lbs and 1 hour for 11 pounds and above. When the steaming is done, the goose is removed and the fat is poured out. The goose needs to rest at least about 20 minutes at this stage. This is the time to add the stuffing and truss the legs and cavity opening for final roasting. I use an end piece of bread crust to cover the cavity before trussing and soak it with veal stock to avoid its burning. The temperature of the goose at this point should be between 110 and 115 under the legs. Some people like to chill the water removed at this point to separate the fat and save it to go with the rest of the rendered goose fat for other cooking uses. Next clean the braising pot and add the braising vegetables (roughly chopped celery, carrots and onions) and add about two cups of dry red wine for the braise. At this point the goose can be pricked all over again and then returned to the braising pan on the rack which should be covered with a double layer of greased tin foil to prevent damaging the breast while lying against the rack. Roast the goose breast down in the oven for about one hour to an one hour and a half depending again on the weight with the cover on and the oven remaining at 325 degrees. After the braising, place the goose breast side up on a rack in another braising pan. Set the braising pan with the braising liquids and braising vegetables on the stove top for preparation of the gravy. Also at this point the stuffing is removed and added to the remainder of the stuffing in an oven-proof dish and cooked to 165 degrees before serving. The temperature of the goose under the legs after braising should be around 140 degrees. Before returning the goose to the oven for the final roasting you can baste the goose with some goose stock. I also use a baster with a needle and inject goose stock under each leg and at an angle on the top of each breast under the skin to provide moisture for this final roasting. The goose can now be returned to the oven still set at 325 degrees and roast with the cover off but using the tin foil that was under the breast to cover the top of the goose for another 30 minutes. Then remove the tin foil and cook uncovered until the goose is golden brown and the skin crispy, about another 30 minutes or when the temperature of the breast meat reaches about 170 to 180 degrees. Remove the goose to an nice serving dish or board, add garnish and make sure you take a photo of your hard work and accomplishment! Let it sit uncovered for at least 1/2 hour before carving and serving.


I find the best way to make the gravy is to prepare the goose stock ahead of time and make sure it is reasonably concentrated and gelatinous. It is then possible to make the gravy before the goose is done. When the goose is transferred to another braising rack and pan for the final roasting, we put the braising pot with the braising liquid and vegetables on the stove. At this point the braising liquids and vegetables are strained off into a gravy separator with all but a few tablespoons of liquid and fat left in the pan. The braising pot is then deglazed over moderate temperature on the stove top with a quarter cup of Madiera and strained off into the separator with the other juices. We can now separate the braising liquids from the fat. Reserve the fat for a roux. Now put about 1/4 cup of the fat in a separate 1 quart pot and heat until hot and add 2 tbs of flour to make the roux. Heat the roux for about a minute and add about 2 cups of goose stock stirring constantly until thickened. Add about a half cup of the separated braising liquid for to taste. When the goose is removed from its final roasting in the oven, deglaze this pot with Madiera, strain and separate the fat and add this separated liquid to the gravy to taste. It is now ready for serving.

Goose Pate:

Render the goose fat cut into one inch pieces in a small frying over medium heat until the rinds are hard and crispy and fully separated from the melted goose fat. Add thyme, salt and pepper and onions and cook onions until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add liver cut into one inch pieces for about a minute. Let cool. Puree this goose fat/rind/onion/liver mixture in a food processor adding sweet butter and brandy as it mixes. Spoon out mixture into serving dish and let cool and solidify in the refrigerator for an hour before serving. Serve with thin slices from a baguette of Italian bread brushed with butter and toasted in the oven.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
10 to 12
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
2 Weeks
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
What follows are our favorite menu items for a Christmas Goose Dinner. This whole process is far more complicated than any sane chief need do for the same results but we enjoy the tradition of this process as an harbinger of this wonderful season so we amuse ourselves. We serve the goose with the gravy and its stuffing and a green vegetable such as an asparragus recipe and a traditional yam recipe. We start with the two pates and end with traditional Christmas plum pudding cooked with a six pence piece inside. The lucky finder of the six pence gets a special gift!




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