This recipe from Michelin-starred Gascon chef, Pascal Aussignac, is one of three taken from his book, Cuisinier Gascon.
Goose is, not surprisingly, a popular meat in Gascony, and never more so than around Christmas.
This is my suggestion for a French-style Christmas feast, cooking the "stuffing" separately and filling the body of the goose to be roasted with fresh, clean hay. This imparts a delicious grassy flavour to the meat. You can buy hay from most pet shops.
- 1 oven-ready goose, about 6-7kg, with heart and liver
- 3-4 fistfuls fresh hay, about 150g
- 50g duck or goose fat
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing
- The heart and liver of the goose, finely chopped
- 100g chicken livers
- 200g button mushrooms, chopped
- 3tbs Armagnac
- 150g shallot compote
- 125g good sausage meat, broken up
- 100g Agen prunes, stoned and chopped
- 100g day-old rustic bread, torn into small pieces
- 125g vacuum-packed chestnuts, chopped
- 100g foie gras, cut into cubes
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Stuff the body cavity with as much hay as it will hold. Place in a large roasting pan with the duck or goose fat, season well and roast for 40 minutes, then lower the heat to 160-170°/gas mark 3 and cook for 30 minutes per kg, pouring off the cooking fat once or twice. When the bird is cooked, remove it to a warm platter and leave to rest.
Pour off the fat from the pan until you have just meat juices left. Put the pan on the hob on a medium heat and stir in 150ml water, scraping up the meaty deposits to deglaze. Bubble for a few minutes then strain the jus into a jug and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Using a large sauté pan, sauté the chopped heart and liver, chicken livers and mushrooms in some of the saved roasting fat for about five minutes, then add the Armagnac and stir for a minute or two. Add the jus, shallot compote and the sausage meat. Stir and cook for another five minutes until the sausage meat is cooked.
Mix in the prunes, bread pieces and chestnuts, reheat until piping hot and cook for a further five minutes. Then stir in the foie gras and check the seasoning. Carve the goose, remembering the breasts are quite shallow. Give each guest a portion of leg and breast meat each and a good spoonful of stuffing.
Cuisinier Gascon, published by Absolute Press, £25. ISBN 978-1-906650-20-9