I was quite determined that we were going to have goose as the centrepiece of our Christmas meal. Apparently roast goose has been the festive meat of Britain since the ancient Celts fattened them for Samhain, and I saw no reason to break with that tradition!
Of course, a goose is too big for two people, so when it was delivered on the 23rd I jumped into action with a sharp knife and a pair of poultry shears. The legs came off and were put into a bit of salt, to cure before making them into confit, to be eaten another day.
The breasts came off as well. One went into the fridge just as it was, to be browned in a frying pan before being finished in the oven on a rack over a dish of water. The other breast joined the legs being cured, although I made a slightly more flavoursome cure of mace, sugar, salt, fennel pollen and thyme. That breast was going to be hot smoked over lapsang souchong tea.
The large lumps of fat in the body cavity and most of the rest of the skin and fat went into a pan with some cold water, to render out the fat. A large piece of skin, plus whatever extra meat I could strip off, and the liver, were made into a sausage, which was also going to be smoked (this ended up tasting horrible, and it didn't make the final platter, so I won't mention it again).
Finally whatever was left of the carcass, along with the giblets, some stock veg and a bayleaf, went into a large pot with some cold water to be simmered for stock.
I decided that because it was just us sharing the celebration, the plating would look much nicer if I just made one large shared platter. Sauteed cabbage, cauliflower puree (I was going to make a celeriac mash, but I had a lot of cauliflower left from the canapes, so I combined it with an equal amount of mashed potato) topped with some of the goose scratchings rendered out of the fat. The smoked goose breast. The roast goose breast. And some of these pickled pears.
It was wonderful!
The leftover meat is going to join the confit goose legs in a very grand and rich cassoulet in a couple of days, with beans cooked in the goose stock. And the goosefat is safely tucked away in the freezer, for superior roast potatoes once we recover from all this rich food.