We all have Christmas traditions that we always stick to, and the roast turkey is usually one of them, but why not mix things up a bit this year by roasting goose on Christmas Day instead? Or, if you’re feeding a crowd, get the best of both worlds and cook it as well as your usual turkey.
You might not have thought of having a goose at Christmas, but 100 years ago it was the traditional bird that most British people would tuck in to on the big day, while turkey was the expensive, flashy alternative, brought over from America by explorers.
Things have clearly changed over the last century, and turkeys have become the kings of Christmas dinner, mostly because they can be raised more quickly. Also, many people now think of goose as a pricier alternative, but if you’re buying really tasty, free-range or Freedom Food turkeys – as you should try to – a quality goose won’t cost much more and, because it’s a much richer meat, you probably won’t need to eat as much either. Having said that, the meat tastes so good you might struggle to stop picking at it – you can get goose skin to go beautifully crisp, almost like pork crackling, and the meat is packed with flavour.
There are all sorts of things you can do to add value to your goose too. The fat you get can be used to cook your roast spuds, the liver can be used to make a gorgeous pâté for Christmas morning or an evening treat, and the giblets can help to make a glorious gravy.
If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, you can make some great extra meals. The rich, dark meat makes a perfect game pie – possibly in a port gravy – and it works a treat as the base for a goose shepherd’s pie. It’s great chopped up with other leftover Christmas meats to make a delicious, rich ragù, and you can then use that sauce in pastas and lasagnes to get you through to the New Year.
If you have a free-range goose farm nearby, give them a ring and get them to earmark one for you as soon as possible. If you have any problems finding one, give our favourite goose farm, Goodman’s, a ring and they’ll wrap one in greaseproof paper, pop it in a sturdy box and deliver it overnight.
Give goose a go – it could change your Christmas dinners forever!