You will need for the stuffing:
500g dried pears
175g cranberries, fresh or, if frozen, thawed
100g dried breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger Pulpy juice and zest of 1 clementine/satsuma
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 x 15ml tablespoons maple syrup
1 x 15ml tablespoon Maldon salt or
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 x 4.8kg fresh goose
This bird has such a large carcass that one only just fits in an oven and won't feed many more than six, though with all the trimmings, it will probably stretch to eight to 10.
What the trimmings are is up to you, of course, though I've suggested a similar line-up to the turkey.
I also suggest, unless there are six or fewer of you, that you don't reduce the portions; this way, if you wanted to be sure to feed 10 with a meat-mean goose, you probably could.
It's just that I start panicking unless I make too much food for everyone, but I do know in my heart of hearts that two small slices of meat is plenty when the plate's piled high with stuffing, roast potatoes, sausages, bread sauce, sprouts and red cabbage.
Nevertheless, the disadvantage of the large carcass yields some positive returns, namely that you can fit in a lot of stuffing. And I do actually stuff the bird, as I no longer do my turkey, not least because a goose is so much easier to stuff than a turkey.
And this sharp-sweet mix of grainy-fleshed dried pears and astringent cranberries -- which becomes imbued with the flavour-deep juices of the goose as it cooks -- is the perfect foil to the gorgeous richness of the dark meat.
Either soak the dried pears overnight in cold water, or pour boiling water over them and leave to cool; this will take two to three hours.
Drain the pears and put them into a bowl along with the cranberries and breadcrumbs.
Add the cinnamon, cloves, ginger and clementine/satsuma zest and pulp. Stir in the chopped onion, maple syrup and pecans, and add the salt.
Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed before you stuff the goose.
Preheat your oven to 220Â°C/gas mark 7.
Remove any excess fat from the goose cavity -- this can go toward your roast potatoes -- and remove the neck and giblets, reserving them for the gravy.
Stuff the cavity of the goose with the pear and cranberry stuffing and, once stuffed, wrap the goose skin over, securing with a skewer.
Sit the stuffed goose on a wire rack in a fairly deep roasting tin, as the goose will give off a lot of fat as it cooks and you don't want spillage.
Cook the goose for three hours (after about an hour, drain off the excess fat in the tin, and again every half hour or so).
Remove to a board and carve judiciously.
NIGELLA CHRISTMAS by Nigella Lawson. Published by Chatto
& Windus. Copyright
© Nigella Lawson 2008. Photographs copyright © Lis Parsons 2008