Famously mentioned in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, goose garnished with bay leaves and fresh orange was the traditional centerpiece of the Christmas dinner table over 100 years ago. However, in the 21st century, goose for Christmas eventually fell out of favor with consumers and was replaced by beef, ham, and turkey. Fortunately for tiny fowl lovers, Christmas goose is starting to make a comeback! Follow these steps to learn how to roast a goose so you can enjoy its delicious dark meat at your Christmas dinner.
Step 1: Defrost Your Bird
Start with a fresh or frozen 12-pound goose. If your bird is frozen, defrost it for two full days in the refrigerator. Once you remove the goose from the refrigerator, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Prep the Cavity
Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, rinse the inside and outside of the goose with cold, running water and then pat it dry with paper towels. Remove any giblets or pads of fat from the cavity of the bird. Additionally, remove the neck and the last two joints of the wings. Set the neck, giblets, and wing tips aside to make gravy.
Trim as much excess fat as possible from the opening of the cavity. Prick the entire surface of the goose’s skin with a sharp knife or needle. This helps the fat render down more quickly during roasting so that the skin becomes crispier. Using kitchen twine, tie the goose’s legs together.
Step 3: Season the Goose
Generously sprinkle salt and pepper and rub it all over the bird. Squeeze juice from a lemon all over the bird and then place the used lemon in the cavity. Insert a bunch of fresh thyme sprigs, a head of garlic with the top sliced off, a bunch of fresh sage, two celery stalk halves, and two carrot halves in the cavity.
Step 4: Start Roasting
Place the goose breast-side up on a wire rack placed in a large roasting pan. Roast the goose for about one hour, until it turns golden brown on the outside. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees after an hour. Cover the goose with foil if it starts to brown too much. Roast the turkey for another hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the breast registers 175 to 180 degrees.
Step 5: Let it Rest and Serve
When the goose is done roasting, transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes so that the bird is moister and easier to carve. After it has rested, start carving and set your bird out to serve!
Step 6: Use the Leftovers
When you are finished eating your goose, you can save the bones to make stock. Goose also leaves behind the gift of goose fat, a delicious cooking fat with a high smoking point that is ideal for roasting vegetables, pan-searing seafood, frying chicken, and so much more.
As consumers become more adventurous with their Christmas meat, alternative centerpieces are growing in popularity. Goose is a great choice because of its moist meat, crispy exterior, and dense, full flavor. Now that you know how to roast a goose for Christmas, consider reviving this tradition at your dinner table this year!