Goose is often criticised for being a very fatty bird, and roasting it to get rid of the fat often ends up with the meat being overcooked. Even though a well-reared goose doesn’t have as much fat these days, my method, where the legs are slow-cooked and the breasts are roasted on the crown, reduces the roasting time and the risk of dry meat.
It’s also a great way to serve – yielding crispy confit legs (which can be cooked hours in advance and reheated), roast breast meat and a goose-liver salad into which you can throw a few chestnuts or hazelnuts. Your usual roast potatoes and vegetables will go with the meat nicely. I recommend Woolley Park Farm for buying goose and duck.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 35 minutes
1 goose, 3-4kg
For the confit
½ bulb of garlic
a few sprigs of thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
10 juniper berries, chopped
2 tsp sea salt
400g goose or duck fat
For the salad
16 chestnuts, fresh or vacuum-packed, peeled and halved
8 handfuls of small salad leaves and herbs
4 tangerines or mandarins, peeled, segmented and halved lengthways
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin rapeseed oil
2 tsp Tewksbury or Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3. Remove the legs from the goose by pulling them away from the bone and cutting away from the carcass at the joint. Cut each leg in half, separating the drumstick from the thigh. Chop off the knuckle from the drumstick and push the meat down a little to reveal the bone.
Remove the bone from the thigh and cut the thigh meat in half.
Separate the crown which the breasts are attached to from the bony backbone either with a heavy knife or poultry scissors.
Put the livers to one side for the salad, and the heart for the confit.
Remove any fat and skin from the backbone that you’ve cut away and put it in an ovenproof pan with a tight-fitting lid, along with the drumsticks, thighs and heart.
Add the rest of the ingredients for the confit to the pan, place in the oven with the lid on and cook for about 1½ hours, or until the meat is tender. Leave to cool in the fat.
Meanwhile, chop the backbone, thigh bones and neck to make a future gravy.
To cook the goose crown, turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 7. Season the crown and place it skin-side down in a roasting tin. Cook for 30 minutes, draining any excess fat from the tray during cooking (you can add this to the fat from the legs to use for roast potatoes) then turn the bird on to its back and cook for a further 20 minutes to keep the breasts medium rare. The timing does depend on the size of your bird so allow a little longer if necessary but be watchful. Using a temperature probe is best: inserted into the thickest part of the breast, it should be at 65-70C.
Once cooked, remove the crown from the tin and leave to rest, covered with tin foil or tea towels. Put the drumsticks and thigh meat from the confit into the tin the crown was cooked in, along with any pieces of skin from the confit and the chestnuts. Return it to the oven for 10-15 minutes for the confit meat to crisp up.
Meanwhile, season the livers. Heat a frying pan with a couple teaspoons of the goose fat and fry the livers on a high heat for a minute or so, turning as they are cooking and keeping them pink.
Now you have the crispy legs, the roasted breast and the ingredients for the salad all ready to serve.
To remove the breasts, cut them away from the breast bone with a sharp knife.
Place skin-down on a chopping board and slice – thinly or thickly.
Slice the livers and toss them into the salad leaves with the tangerines and chestnuts. Whisk together the vinegar, oil and mustard, and toss through the salad. Season and transfer to a plate or bowl.
Divide the sliced breast meat between your plates, serving it with some salad, some sliced drumstick or thigh meat and a little gravy, serving the rest in a sauce boat.