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Roasting a Holiday Goose

T his method of cooking our White Embdem goose will result in the most succulent meat imaginable, while successfully rendering out the fat stored beneath the birds’ skin. It is a simple, two-step process starting out on the stovetop and finishing in the oven. Unlike oven roasting, which utilizes indirect, dry heat, this method relies primarily on the moisture of braising to roast the goose.

Roasting a Holiday Goose 1- Holidays & Entertaining – Dartagnan.com

First Things First

There are a few things to tend to before the goose is ready for the pan. First, you need to pull all the excess fat out from the cavity at the tail vent, which is the opening at the rear of the goose. Save this to render later into a precious, flavorful fat for eating and cooking. Next comes a little knife work that will prep the bird for much easier carving. This starts with removing the wishbone; then because this bird was built with such strong tendons and joints for migratory flight, you will also loosen the wings and legs.

Starting with the wings, chop off the ends just below the joint. Next, hold the remaining upper wing and move it around, extending it some to help reveal the ball joint while you are reaching inside the bird through the neck cavity with your free hand to feel the rounded point where this joint attaches to the shoulder. Once you locate this joint, continue to hold the end of the wing to stabilize the joint, and using your free hand again, reach back in with the knife, and carefully cut through this ball joint from inside the bird. Upon succeeding, you’ll feel the wing bone free from the bird, while the wing itself will remain attached to the bird by the unbroken skin. Repeat this entire process on the opposite wing.

Next, you’ll cut through the thigh joint where it connects at the small of the birds back, from the outside of the bird. Turn the goose onto its breast, hold the thigh and move it around to locate and extend the joint. Keep firm hold of the leg to stabilize the extended joint, with your free hand place the tip of a sharp knife at the joint, and carefully thrust the tip down into it; leaving the smallest possible slit in the skin, severing the tendons and loosening the thigh without cutting all the way through the meat on the other side. Repeat on the other thigh. Afterwards sew or use small skewers to close the cut slits. Now thoroughly rub the goose both inside and out with the juice of one large, fresh lemon and using a good salt, lightly season the inside of the cavity.

Next order of business is to truss the goose by simply running a long skewer completely through the bird close to the shoulder, securing both wings. Run a second long skewer completely through at the hips to secure both thighs. Bind the ends of the drumsticks together, and in place above the tailpiece with a length of cotton kitchen string or butcher’s twine.

The last bit of prep is to aid in rendering the birds’ fat. To do this, use the very tip of your sharp trussing needle to pierce the skin in several places creating tiny exit points for the escaping fat, taking care not to push beyond just breaking the skin. You do not want to poke or pierce the actual meat. Use your index finger and thumb to hold the skin taut when piercing that skin. Again, be very careful to just break the skin and not poke or pierce the flesh.

Now that the goose has been prepped for carving and seasoned and trussed, it’s time to put it in the pan for the first stage of cooking. This step will render or melt the excess protective fat from beneath the bird’s skin. You do this by steaming the goose in the roasting pan on the stovetop.

Liquid Gold

Start by adding a couple inches of water to your roasting pan, and place the fully prepped goose breast side up in an x-shaped rack in the pan. Bring the water to a boil, using two burners if needed for the size of pan. Once the water is at a hard boil, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat. Steam for 45 minutes to an hour for a 9 to 11 pound bird. Check the water level in the pan periodically, and add room temperature or boiling water as needed to maintain steam and prevent it from burning off completely. Be sure not to add cold water, as it will disrupt the steaming process.

Once the time is up, remove the steamed goose from the pan and allow it to air dry on a platter for about 20 minutes or so. Carefully pour the liquid out the pan, being sure to save the several cups or so of precious, pure goose fat that rises to the top. This healthful and tasty fat, prized for cooking and eating, can make even simple sautéed potatoes almost unbearably delicious. The next step is to remove the hip skewer and address the cavity. You can now stuff the bird with a traditional dressing; or with a few sautéed aromatics intended only to delicately flavor the meat, or just season the cavity with a good salt and freshly ground pepper, then put the hip skewer back in place.

One Goose a Roasting

Now comes the roasting. Line the rack with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil and lay in the goose, breast side down. Toss a rough chopped mirepoix of one large onion, carrot and stalk of celery into the pan along with 2 cups (give or take) of good red or white wine as a braising liquid. Cover the pan tightly and braise in a preheated 325°F oven for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours depending on the size of your bird. Check on the level of braising liquid periodically, adding more as needed, and take the opportunity to also baste the goose with the pan juices. Towards the end of this cooking time press the bird at the leg, it should feel almost tender. At the end of the braising time, take the pan out of the oven, carefully turn the goose breast side up and baste completely with the pan juices. Place the pan back in the oven to finish cooking. If the bird needs browning, continue cooking without the lid for about another 30 minutes. If it has browned and crisped to your liking, continue cooking for the additional 30 minutes with the lid in place, but turned slightly askew or tent the goose with aluminum foil, shiny side up. In either instance, baste a couple more times. After the 30 minutes passes, press the leg, when done the drumstick should feel quite tender. Once you take the bird out of the oven, turn the oven off.

A Warm Cozy Rest

The goose will need a rest to allow the juices to settle back into the meat and the meat to firm up for carving. To prevent the bird from becoming greasy, remove it to a wooden cutting board with juice trough or warmed heat-resistant platter and place it back in the turned off oven with the door ajar, letting it sit in the warmth while you make your gravy and before carving.


Rendered goose fat is healthier for eating and cooking than butter and many oils. Similar to using rendered duck fat, use it in the same manner as the fat that you are replacing. For example, in place of a cold pat of butter, use an equal portion of cold goose fat. For a drizzle of oil, use a drizzle of slightly warmed goose fat, and so on. Just keep it in a tightly covered container in your refrigerator for up to six months, or you can freeze it and keep it indefinitely.