For something a little more special than usual this Christmas (hey – don’t we all deserve it), consider swapping out the traditional turkey for that rarest of treats – a golden goose. This delicately spiced version is a stunning centrepiece to the christmas feast and will go beautifully with the roast potatoes cooked in your own goose fat. Delicious.
- 4-5.5kg fresh goose
- 4 lemons
- 3 limes
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- small handful each of parsley sprigs, thyme and sage, plus extra for garnishing
- a little olive oil, for browning, optional
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
Before you begin, calculate the cooking time: for medium rare, it’s 20 mins per kg plus 10 mins; for well done, it’s 30 mins per kg plus 10 mins. Whichever way you choose, add another 30 mins resting at the end too.
- If the goose is ready-trussed, then loosen the string and pull out the legs and wings a little – this helps the bird cook better.
- Check the inside of the bird and remove any giblets or pads of fat. Using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the breast and leg skin in a criss-cross. This helps the fat to render down more quickly during roasting.
- Grate the zest from 4 lemons and 3 limes. Mix with 2 tsp fine sea salt, 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder and pepper, to taste.
- Season the cavity of the goose generously with salt, then rub the citrus mix well into the skin and sprinkle some inside the cavity.
- Stuff the zested fruit and a small handful of parsley, thyme and sage sprigs inside the bird and set aside for at least 15 mins. Can be done up to a day ahead and kept refrigerated.
- Heat oven to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9.
- If you want to give the bird a nice golden skin, brown in a large frying pan (or a heavy-based roasting tin), using a couple of tbsp olive oil. Holding the bird by the legs (you may like to use an oven glove), press it down on the breasts to brown.
- Once browned, place the bird in the roasting tin. Drizzle with 3 tbsp clear honey and sprinkle with 1 tbsp thyme leaves.
- Roast for the calculated time, turning the heat down after 10 mins to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Cover the goose with foil if it is starting to brown too much.
- Every 30 mins or so, baste the bird with the pan juices, then pour off the fat through a sieve into a large heatproof bowl. You will end up with at least a litre of luscious fat – save this for the potatoes and other veg.
- At the end of the cooking time, leave to rest for at least 30 mins, covered loosely with foil. The bird will not go cold, but will be moist and much easier to carve.