Now that the goose has been prepped for carving, seasoned and trussed it is 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 RoastingNow 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 RestThe 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.
1) Rendered goose fat is quite low in saturated fat making it much 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.
2) See our Holiday Quick Tips Article on Testing Poultry for Doneness, for more information on how to decide whether to use the breast or thigh for testing internal temperature.