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Roast Goose and Cooking Times


We had roast goose for Christmas, and I think it was the best one yet. I forgot to take pictures though (edit: pictures from this year now below).

Our goose works on the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipes. And I’d like to explode the myth of long cooking times for goose.

Our goose takes 50 minutes. Yes that’s less than an hour, with then a 30 minute rest period.

The trick is to cut off the legs and cook them seperately (and/or differently). Otherwise you can not achieve the correct amount of cooking for both the legs and the breast at the same time. I confit the legs in goose fat.

Legless goose

Legless Goose

The breasts (still on carcass) is then cooked in a high oven – around 220 c – for 50 minutes, and after 30 minutes rests comes out very moist and very slightly pink. Just perfect and yummy.

Update: Yes. It still works. Prick the skin. Rub salt on breast and then high oven for 50 minutes. If you leave the legs on, then reduce oven to 160 c and roast for further 30 minutes. But, your breasts are likely to be on the dry side. I would then follow McGee’s advice below and just make a yummy gravy.

Goose legs confit

Goose legs confit

Harold McGee (of On Food and Cooking fame – a must have cooking book) discusses the dry breast / properly cooked leg problem on a roast turkey (even bigger problem than on a goose) in his NYT column here

McGee concludes although cooking the breast / legs  separately results in better moisture because roast turkey is a whole bird celebration, better to roast it as best you can and then rehydrate the turkey breasts (sliced thinly) in a nice gravy. – and forget about brining.

The best way to keep an unbrined turkey breast moist is to cook it separately, gently and precisely. It’s just done at around 145 degrees, and getting dry at 155.

But to me Thanksgiving is an occasion for roasting the whole bird, and as unfussily as possible. I’ve tried many methods for keeping the breast meat under 155 degrees while getting the tougher legs to 165 degrees and up. None has worked reliably….

Roast an unbrined turkey as you wish. While the turkey rests, make a delicious pan sauce from the drippings. Keep it runny. When it’s time to carve, start with the breast. Either slice it very thin, to an eighth of an inch or less, or cut thick pieces and pull them to shreds, to create as much surface area as possible. Then turn and coat the meat thoroughly with some of the pan sauce, and keep it warm while you carve the leg and thigh.

Unlike casual last-minute saucing at the table, an extended and intimate bath gives the sauce a chance to penetrate into the meat’s smallest crannies and seams. The meat fibers may have been cooked dry in the oven, but they end up on the plate with abundant moisture clinging to them.

And it’s their own meaty moisture, genuinely enhanced.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 2009/01/12 4:09 pm

    Just popped in to say hello this Monday morning.
    I’ve never had goose…

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