Slainte: Feasting With Angels, Irish Recipes for Michaelmas
Feasting with Angels
Since September 29th arrives on the heels of the Autumnal Equinox, it also heralds the shortening of days when light from the sun begins to dim and the work of illuminating manuscripts such as The Book of Kells and in later years the setting of type had to be done by candlelight. Irish printers marked this changing of the year by treating their staff to a Michaelmas roast goose feast.
In view of Michael the Archangel’s many patronages, not the least of which is protection against temptation itself, it is not surprising that his name ranks in the top tier of popularity for Irish boys. Personally, I am most fond of Michael’s tie to publishing the written word, one of Ireland’s most lauded talents. For me, at least, it implies “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Think about it. Sláinte!
Michaelmas Roast Goose
with Potato-Apple Stuffing
(Festive Food of Ireland – Darina Allen)
1 10-pound goose (with giblets – neck, heart and gizzard)
Bouquet garni (1 sprig thyme, 3-4 parsley sprigs,
1 piece celery)
2 pounds potatoes
1⁄2 stick butter
1 pound chopped onions
1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled & chopped
1-11⁄2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1-11⁄2 tablespoons lemon balm (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Stuffing: Boil the unpeeled potatoes in salted water until cooked, peel and mash. Melt the butter and sweat the onions in a covered pan on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook until they break down, then stir in the mashed potatoes and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until cold before stuffing the goose.
Goose: Remove the wishbone for ease of carving. Put the goose into a saucepan with the giblets, onion, carrot, bouquet garni and peppercorns. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 hours. Remove the bird carefully from the stock and pat dry. Season the cavity with salt and pepper and fill with the cold stuffing. Sprinkle some sea salt over the breast and rub into the skin. Roast for 2-2 1/2 hours in a preheated 350°F oven. Pour off the excess fat three or four times during the cooking (store this fat in your refrigerator as it keeps for months and is wonderful for roasting or sautéing potatoes). To test whether the goose is cooked, prick the thigh at the thickest part. The juices that run out should be clear; if they are pink, the goose needs a little longer roasting. When cooked, remove the goose to a large heatproof platter and put it into a low oven (200°F) while you make the gravy.
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