Gilligan's Gourmet: Christmas roast goose
A traditional alternative to the Christmas turkey and ham
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!
In the past some very strange things were eaten around Christmas. At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served "endored". The flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter and the birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.
Around Victorian times another traditional Christmas feast was roasted goose or roasted turkey. In Victorian times, most Londoners would have been familiar with the "goose club", which was a method of saving to buy a goose for Christmas. Goose clubs were popular with the working-class, who paid a few pence a week towards the purchase of a Christmas goose. The week before Christmas, London meat markets were crammed with geese and turkeys, many imported from Germany and France, although some were raised in Norfolk, and taken to market in London. The birds were walked from Norfolk to the markets in London, to protect their feet the turkeys were dressed in boots made of sacking or leather and geese had their feet protected with a covering of tar. The traditional Christmas goose was featured in Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'.
Nowadays, if you sit down with a typical family on Christmas day, the starter is probably going to be prawns or smoked salmon. The main course is more than likely to be turkey, often free-range and the bigger the better, although goose has been making a bit of a comeback, and for the vegetarian in the family (there's always one) a nut roast, this is normally served with potatoes (roasted, boiled, mashed, or maybe all three), vegetables (including the devil's vegetable - brussel sprouts) roasted parsnips, and stuffing with gravy and bread sauce. This is usually followed by Christmas pudding; a rich fruit pudding served with brandy sauce or brandy butter.
ROAST CHRISTMAS GOOSE
Tired of the same old Christmas turkey or ham? Then give this traditional roast goose recipe a try. Carefully pricking the skin is the secret to a beautiful crispy finish.
One 12-pound goose, neck and giblets reserved, visible fat removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ¼ cups warm water
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon potato starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons red or white wine
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