For centuries goose was the preferred choice of roasting for Christmas in England and Wales. In fact, a goose was the centerpiece at Michaelmas, a feast celebrated in the Middle Ages on the winter solstice, which later became Christmas.
Today the Christmas goose is being re-discovered by foodies and trendy London restaurants.
Goose is packed with flavour. The meat is richer and darker than turkey, with a much higher fat content. Goose breast, unlike chicken and turkey breast, is dark meat with a much stronger flavour. You also get crisp-as-a-cracker golden skin, a rich liver that's great for pâté, sublime velvety stock and leftovers you make into a wonderful cassoulet for New Year. And, you get plenty of goose fat for roast potatoes unlike any you’ve ever tasted. If there's any fat left over, store it in the fridge, as almost everything improves if cooked in goose fat.
For the perfect Christmas lunch, roast your goose early and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Smaller geese are better than large ones when it comes to roasting. And it needs to be cooked longer and slower than turkey.
Goose is traditionally stuffed with sage and onion stuffing, with some apple to complement the very rich meat.
Unlike turkey or chicken, which should be roasted till the meat is opaque white, goose can be served slightly pink. However, the legs need cooking a lot longer than the breast, so keep the temperature low.
Don't worry about the meat drying out as there's enough fat on the bird to baste it from within.
As with turkey the temperature at the bone needs to get to 74˚C.
Delivered either vacuum packed or loose in a cardboard box.
Take care not to puncture the vacuum pack. Store it below 4°C and never let it get above 7°C. Be gentle with it, if you bang it or drop it the meat will lose some of it's moisture. Don't stack heavy things on top of it either.
With fridge set at 1-4 °C
Raw goose is sensitive to bacterial infection, but any bacteria is killed during the cooking process.
Never wash raw goose as any splashes simply spread the bacteria. Always wash your hands before and after handling it and thoroughly clean the chopping board as soon as you've used it. As well as any other surfaces it's been in contact with.
Never let raw meat come into contact with other food in your fridge. And never – ever - let it come into contact with anything you'd eat straight from the fridge like ham, lettuce or cheese.
Store it separately in the coldest bit of the fridge. Usually the bottom of the fridge near the back.
Let the air circulate
All fresh meat - except bacon or anything in a vacuum pack - needs circulating air so as not to spoil. It does much better in the fridge if it's not covered in plastic. So store it in a bowl and cover it with a paper towel or tea towel, well away from ready to eat foodstuffs
Freeze meat as quickly as possible. Most of the damage to your meat is done when it's around the 0°C mark, because that's when the ice crystals are at their largest. These crystals puncture the meat so you lose some of the juices when it thaws.
Once frozen your biggest problem is air
Any frozen food in contact with the air will dry out and get freezer burn. So make sure anything you freeze is 100% airtight.
The slower you thaw your meat the less juice is lost. Defrost it in the fridge.