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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Bygone Christmas Memories


Posted: December 12, 2007
by: Robert Jackson

With the Christmas season well & truly upon us again, I find my mind taking me back to a treasure trove of very fond memories of my earlier, childhood years. Yes, I am at a certain age now where it’s only too easy to forget, but happily, for now at least, such memories are there to be called upon!

I’m sure it’s a fact that Christmastime in those days was always much colder than it is now….the effects of global warming I guess. Here in the UK, it’s becoming increasingly unusual for snow to fall at any time, let alone Christmastime! Yet the picture scene depicted on cards, gift wrapping, TV commercials and newspaper advertisements still has us virtually up to our waste in crisp white snow. Lovely to dream of, but (in our climate at least), a thing of the past!

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Similarly many of the traditions of Christmas past are now so rarely seen. As a child, how we enjoyed our Christmas stockings bulging with mandarin oranges, chocolates and nuts. And oh the excitement of waking up early on Christmas morning to open presents. The traditional festive family dinner was somehow, a rather more special occasion then. But hardly any wonder with standards of living in the western world being so much higher now than they were. Plus the fact that we can now so easily buy almost ANY food at ANY time of the year…….no longer do we have to wait for Christmas for such a special treat!

But despite the commercialism of Christmas, most of us still look forward to it with a passion! A time to “eat, drink and be merry”…….with gusto! So if you haven’t done it already, then I would suggest that now might be a good time to plan your menu!

And with that in mind, I want to share with you a family recipe for one of my all-time favorite festive dishes – Roast Goose Stuffed with Spiced Apples and Prunes. This traditional European dish was a very great favourite of my mom’s who was a remarkable cook and always roasted it to perfection.

Whatever your plans, and wherever you are in the world, I wish you health, wealth and happiness for Christmas and the New Year.

Roast Goose Stuffed with Spiced Apples and Prunes

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INGREDIENTS

Serves 8

1 12 to 13lb (5.4kg to 5.9kg) goose

For the Apple & Prune Stuffing:

1 1/2lb (700g) cooking apples, peeled, core and roughly chopped

8oz (225g) ready to eat, stoned prunes

1 large onion, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons Armagnac (or other brandy)

1/8 level teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the Pork Stuffing:

1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

10oz (275g) good quality pork sausage meat or minced pork

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2oz (50g) fresh white breadcrumbs

2 level teaspoons dried sage

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

salt and freshly milled black pepper

METHOD

1. Prepare the apple and prune stuffing by mixing all of the ingredients together.

2. Prepare the pork stuffing by mixing all of the ingredients together.

3. Wash the goose inside and out under cold running water. Shake off excess water and then pat dry with paper towel. Prick it all over with a skewer or small, sharp knife (this allows the fat to drain away and will prevent the bird from being greasy).

4. Place the pork stuffing into the neck flap end of the goose. Tuck the flap back down and pat back into shape. Secure the flap with a small skewer or cocktail stick.

5. Place the apple and prune stuffing into the body cavity of the goose.

6. Preheat the oven to 425F, 220C or gas mark 7.

7. Season the goose well all over with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Place on a wire rack in a large roasting tin.

8. Roast the goose for 30 minutes at the high temperature, and then reduce it to 350F, 180C or gas mark 4. Now leave it to roast for 3 1/4 hours for a 12lb bird or 3 1/2 hours for a 13lb bird. Do not baste the goose whatsoever, otherwise it will become greasy. Pour off the excess fat occasionally.

9. When the goose is cooked, the juice will run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the point of a knife or skewer. If using a meat thermometer, it should reach 175C when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

10. Once cooked, transfer the goose to a warm serving platter and allow it to rest for 20 minutes while you make the gravy.

TO SERVE

Snap off the wing tips, and carve the goose.

Serve the goose with both of the stuffings and a good, rich giblet brown gravy. For a truly festive flavor, I like to serve it with a dish of home made apple sauce or cranberry and orange relish.

COOK’S NOTES

To save time on the day, the goose can be stuffed the night before, cling wrapped and then refrigerated overnight. Just remember though to remove it from the refrigerator a couple of hours before roasting to allow it to just come up to room temperature.

Although the stuffing recipe calls for Armagnac (a brandy produced in south western France), any good quality brandy will suffice. Alternatively, you could substitute the alcohol for fruit juice.

Goose fat is excellent for making the best, crispiest roast potatoes.....ever! Simply pour the goose fat into a suitable container and refrigerate when cool.

Robert Jackson

Gourmet Food Revolution

This recipe is just one of the many recipes taken from my Traditional Christmas Dinner Menu - Bon Appetit!


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