Stuffed Roast Goose with Braised Red Cabbage
This is what we’d always have as a family Christmas, served with all of the trimmings. Free-range geese are now in plentiful supply during the festive period. Make sure you save the drained off fat and use to make crispy roast potatoes.
6kg (12lb) oven-ready goose, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp ruby red port or red wine
finely grated rind of 1 orange
For the stuffing
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
350g (12oz) sausage meat (good quality)
75g (3oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
100g (4oz) dried cranberries
100g (4oz) walnut halves, chopped
For The Red Cabbage
1 head red cabbage, finely sliced
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
50g (2oz) smoked bacon, diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp light brown sugar
300ml (1/2 pint) red wine
300ml (1/2 pint) apple juice
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Madeira jus or red wine sauce, to serve
To make the stuffing, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the apples and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened and golden. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Once cool, add the thyme, sausage meat, breadcrumbs, cranberries and walnuts, stirring gently until evenly mixed. Season to taste.
Preheat oven to 200C (400F), Gas mark 6. Place the goose on a rack set over a roasting tin. Pour over a full kettle of boiling water, then drain off the water from the roasting tin. To stuff the goose, start at the neck end where you’ll find a flap of loose skin: gently loosen this away from the breast and you’ll be able to make a triangular pocket. Pack in two-thirds of the stuffing inside as far as you can go and make a neat round shape on the outside, then tuck the neck flap under the goose and secure it with a small skewer. Rub all over with salt.
Press the remaining stuffing into the base of 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 3 1/2 hours. Place in the oven to roast, draining off excess fat every 30 minutes or so and after 1 hour reduce the oven temperature to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4. Continue to cook, still draining the fat off every half an hour.
Meanwhile, make the red cabbage, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a high heat. Add the bacon and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the cabbage, stirring to combine. Reduce 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 vinegar, sugar, wine and apple juice. Give a good stir, then cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the apples and spices and cook gently for another 30 minutes, again stirring occasionally. Season to taste and keep warm over a low heat.
Remove 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 rind in a small pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the jelly dissolves and then cook for 4-5 minutes until syrupy. Brush all over the goose. Return the goose to the oven with the reserved tin of extra stuffing and cook for the final 30 minutes until completely tender. Transfer the goose to a serving platter and cover with foil, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. Spoon the cranberry and apple mixture into a warmed bowl and keep warm.
To serve, garnish with roast goose with the thyme and bring to the table. Turn the tin of extra stuffing on to a warmed plate. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed plates, discarding any excess fat. Add some of the stuffing to each plate with the roasted apples and braised red cabbage.