Stuffed Roast Goose with Braised Red Cabbage and Smoked Bacon
For the goose 6kg/13lb oven-ready goose, at room temperature
2 tbsps redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp ruby red Port or red wine
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of thyme, to garnish
Madeira sauce or red wine sauce, to serve (see cookbook) For the stuffing 2 tbsps olive oil
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
1 tbsp chopped thyme
350g/12oz quality sausage meat
75g/3oz fresh white breadcrumbs
100g/4oz dried cranberries
100g/4oz walnut halves, chopped For the red cabbage 1 tbsp sunflower oil
50g/2oz rindless smoked bacon, diced
1 medium red cabbage, core removed and finely sliced
2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
4 tbsps light muscovado sugar
300ml/11fl oz red wine
300ml/11fl oz apple juice
2 cooking apples, peeled cored and chopped
1 tsp each of ground cinnamon, ground cloves and mixed spice
Free-range geese are now in plentiful supply during the festive period, so if you've not tried goose before, give it a go. Save the drained-off fat and use it to make crispy roast potatoes. I normally make my red cabbage the day before -- it also freezes well. Serves eight.
1 To make the stuffing, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the apple slices and sauté for three to four minutes until soft and golden. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Once cool, add the thyme, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, cranberries and walnuts, stirring gently to evenly mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Place the goose on a rack set over a roasting tin (so that any fat drains off during cooking). Pour a kettle of boiling water over the goose (this helps loosen the fat from the skin), then drain off the water from the tin. To stuff the goose, start at the neck end, where you'll find a flap of loose skin -- gently ease this up and away from the breast to open a triangular pocket. Pack two-thirds of the stuffing in as deep as possible and pat into a neat round shape on the outside, then fold the neck flap back down over the stuffing, tuck it under the goose and secure with a small skewer. Rub the goose all over with salt.
3Press the remaining stuffing into a 225g/8oz loaf tin and set aside. Weigh the goose and calculate the cooking time, allowing 15 minutes per 450g/1lb, plus 15 minutes -- this goose should take about three-and-a-half hours. Place the goose (on the rack over the tin) in the oven to roast, draining off the excess fat every 30 minutes. After an hour, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Continue to cook, still draining the fat off every 30 minutes.
4Meanwhile, prepare the red cabbage. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Add the bacon and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the cabbage, stirring to combine.
5Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes until the cabbage is well cooked down, adding a tablespoon or two of water if the cabbage starts to catch on the bottom. Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar, red wine and apple juice. Give everything a good stir, then cover with a lid and simmer for one hour over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the apples and spices and cook gently for another 30 minutes, again stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm over a low heat.
6Remove the goose from the oven 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Warm the redcurrant jelly, balsamic vinegar, Port or wine and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the jelly dissolves, then cook for four to five minutes until syrupy. Brush all over the goose. Return the goose to the oven, along with the reserved tin of extra stuffing, and cook for the final 30 minutes until the goose is completely tender. Transfer the goose to a serving platter and cover with foil, then allow to rest for 20 minutes. Remove the stuffing from the goose and transfer to a warmed bowl. Turn out the tin of extra stuffing into the same bowl.
7To serve, garnish the roast goose with the thyme and bring to the table. Carve the goose into slices and arrange on warmed plates, discarding any excess fat. Add some of the stuffing to each plate, and some of the braised red cabbage. Serve the Madeira sauce or red wine sauce in a jug to accompany the goose.