Roast Goose with Apple, Onion and Sage Stuffing
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Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Bring goose out to room temperature an hour before cooking.
Step 2: For the stuffing, roast the walnuts on a baking tray in the oven until they just begin to colour. While still warm, rub their skins away in a tea towel then, using a sieve or colander, shake the discarded skins away leaving the nuts to cool. Chop the walnuts roughly and set aside.
Step 3: Heat the butter in a large nonstick frying pan, then sauté the apples and sage and, when almost cooked, deglaze the pan with Verjuice, add celery leaves and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Step 4: Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC.
Step 5: Wipe out the pan and return to the heat and add the olive oil, then sauté the onions over low heat until just coloured. Add a little nutmeg to taste.
Step 6: While the onions are still hot, add the breadcrumbs, walnuts and apple and sage mixture, then moisten with a little extra Verjuice if needed to just bring together.
Step 7: Stuff the bird with this mixture and secure the cavity; either sew it up or plug with a whole apple to stop the stuffing escaping. When I use an apple, I find sealing the cavity with a metal skewer sufficient to keep the stuffing from falling out.
Step 8: Coat the stuffed goose with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Verjuice (this will caramelise the skin as the goose cooks), season well to taste, then place in an oven bag and transfer to a large roasting pan.
Step 9: For a young goose, cook for 45 minutes, then turn the bird over and cook for another 45 minutes or until the legs come away easily from the bone. For an older goose, turn the oven down to 120ºC about 3 hours in total (I have sometimes had too cook an older goose for almost 5 hours until it was cooked).
Step 10: Take out of the oven and carefully turn the bag over, being careful not to burn yourself.
Step 11: When cooked, open the oven bag and carefully pour hot juices into a jug and refrigerate to set fat. When set put aside free of any juices and refrigerate to use to roast potatoes. Reduce juices as a sauce. Increase the temperature to 210ºC, then return the goose to the oven to brown the breast skin for 10 minutes. Then rest the goose upside down for 20 to 30 minutes at least before carving.
Step 12: You will know if the goose is cooked at this stage by feeling the bag - if soft and the legs seem like they can be pulled away.
Step 13: For a casual meal, goose is beautiful at room temperature or cold as leftovers next day. I would serve the goose with Apple Aioli rather than a sauce.
1 cup walnut roasted and skins rubbed
250g dried apples minced
30 sage leaves
60ml 1/4 cup Verjuice plus more if needed
1 cup pale green celery leaves
100ml 100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 large brown onions finely chopped
1 nutmeg freshly grated, to taste
2 1/2 cup breadcrumbs Stale grated breadcrumbs