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Mary Walsh’s Guide to Cooking your Goose

If you wrap your goose tightly in foil it will take longer to cook. If you use thicker foil, it will also take longer to cook. The cooking times vary slightly according to the type of oven you cook the bird in. A fan oven is much quicker so keep a close eye on your goose.

On buying your goose always unwrap it and place it in a fridge. Place the giblets covered into the fridge also. If you want to keep them longer than two days it is best to freeze the giblets. Geese freeze very well. When you thaw them out (about 24-30 hours) pat them dry with a dry cloth before roasting.

Cooking Times

If you wrap your goose tightly in foil it will take longer to cook. If you use thicker foil, it will also take longer to cook. The cooking times vary slightly according to the type of oven you cook the bird in. A fan oven is much quicker so keep a close eye on your goose.

  • Small goose will take approx 1 ¾ hrs – 2hrs
  • Medium goose will take approx 2hrs – 2 ½ hrs
  • Large goose will take approx 2 ½ hrs – 3 ½ hrs

Surplus goose fat makes excellent roast potatoes and roast parsnips. You can make the gravy in advance the day before. Cover the giblets in at least 3-4 pints of water, with a carrot, leek and herbs and simmer for at least 3 hours. Leave to cool and take off a little of the fat at the top of the stock. Bring back to the boil and thicken with flour or cornflour or brown gravy powder.

Preparing to cook your goose

  • A useful tip is to have two roasting tins, as it makes it easier when turning the goose. Line both tins with foil and cut two triangular shaped pieces to cover both legs while the goose is cooking.
  • You can fill the goose with chopped green tops of leeks and some cooking apples, thyme or rosemary and seasoning or else fill the cavity with stuffing of your choice.
  • Rub the breast with butter or goose fat and salt and pepper
  • Prick the Fat Gland under the wing of the goose and around the back of the goose
  • Melt some goose fat in a saucepan, cool and pour over the legs before you place the foil on top of them or you can use buter or cooking oil if you prefer.
  • Place the triagular pieces of foil over the legs to protect them and lightly cover the breast with foil.

Cooking the Goose

  • Place into your hot oven either 200C/400F  or Gas Mark 6
  • After the first hour, turn the goose so the back is upwards. Unwrap the back of the goose to let it brown. Pour over surplus goose fat. This is when you can put the goose into your second tin and then you have the spare fat for roasting your parsnips and potatoes.
  • Remember to keep the legs covered and place back into the oven. Just lightly place a piece of foil on top of the back. Depending on the size of your goose appox ¾-1hour more cooking. Turn the goose back again on to a rack. Cover with a little flour and salt to crisp the skin of the breast making sure to keep the legs covered. This takes approx ¼-1/2 hour depending on the size of the goose and how hot your oven is.
  • Lift the goose onto a carving dish to rest for approx 20 minutes before carving – keep the goose covered.

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