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Roast Goose an Honored Tradition for New Year's Day Dinner : Colonists Brought the Recipes With Them

December 26, 1985

For centuries roasted goose has graced holiday dinner tables in thousands of homes throughout the Western world. Throughout the years each country developed unique stuffings and accompaniments for the bird, but the traditional goose was the same whether in Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, England, Switzerland, Norway or Sweden.

For a New Year's Day dinner party serve roasted goose to family and friends.

Colonists from the Old World brought the recipes with them to the New World. Here traditions intermingled, so that by now we have a culmination of the very best.

Positive changes also occurred to geese throughout the centuries--today's birds are meatier, more moist and flavorful and have far less fat than those of our ancestors. The fat that does remain is an asset, acting as a built-in baster.

Geese are now available fresh-frozen from 6 to 14 pounds, but most are in the 8 to 10 pound range. Select the size best suited to your needs, allowing 1/2 to 3/4 pound to yield a 3-ounce serving.

Proper roasting does call for a few specifics to bring out the full, succulent flavor and tenderness of this all-time favorite. Correct oven temperature in two stages, using a meat thermometer and frequent removal of rendered fat are keys to success.

Roasting Instructions

Begin preparation by thawing goose. Place in original wrapping on tray in refrigerator. Allow one to 1 1/2 days for geese six to 10 pounds, 1 1/2 to two days for geese 10 to 14 pounds.

Once defrosted, remove outer wrapping, then neck and giblets from body cavity. Remove excess fat from body cavity and neck skin. (May be reserved for other uses.) Rinse bird, drain and pat dry.

Wings may be removed at second joint or tied flat against body with cord around each wing and across back. Lightly spoon stuffing into neck cavity and fasten neck skin to back with skewer. Fill body cavity in same manner, then tie legs together or tuck in band of skin at tail. It is not necessary to truss.

Place goose, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer deep into inside thigh muscle. Roast, uncovered, at 400 degrees 45 minutes to one hour. During roasting, spoon or siphon off accumulated fat every half hour. (May be reserved for other uses.) Bird will self-baste during roasting.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue roasting until thermometer in thigh registers 180 to 185 degrees. Stuffing temperature should register 165 degrees. Doneness may also be determined by pressing meaty part of leg between protected fingers. It should feel very tender. Or pierce thigh with fork. Juices should be beige in color, not pink.

Approximate Roasting Times

Six to eight pounds, 45 minutes at 400 degrees, one to 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.

Eight to 10 pounds, one hour at 400 degrees, 1 1/2 to two hours at 325 degrees.

Ten to 12 pounds, one hour at 400 degrees, two to 2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.

Twelve to 14 pounds, one hour at 400 degrees, 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours at 325 degrees.

Fruit stuffings complement the dark, juicy meat of goose. Apples and raisins in Apple Sweet Stuffing; apples, raisins and oranges in Apple-Orange Stuffing. Other flavorful choices include Wild Rice Stuffing and Sauerkraut Stuffing.


6 cups day-old bread cubes

3 cups chopped apples

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Combine bread cubes, apples and raisins in large bowl. Mix sugar with salt, cinnamon and allspice. Sprinkle over bread mixture and toss well. Stir in water and melted butter. Makes enough stuffing for 8- to 10-pound goose.


6 cups day-old bread cubes

2 cups diced apples

1 cup diced orange sections

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Combine bread cubes, apples, orange sections, raisins and pecans in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and poultry seasoning and toss well. Stir in orange juice and butter. Makes enough stuffing for 8- to 10-pound goose.


2/3 cup (4-ounces) wild rice

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups day-old white bread cubes (crusts removed)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

Rinse wild rice thoroughly. Bring wild rice, water and salt to boil in saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until just tender.

Combine bread cubes, onion, sage, salt and cooked wild rice. Add melted butter and toss to mix. Makes enough stuffing for 8- to 10-pound goose.


1 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 pounds sauerkraut, drained

1 cup shredded raw potato

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup white wine

Saute onions in butter until tender. Combine with sauerkraut, potato, salt, caraway seeds, pepper and wine. Makes enough stuffing for 8- to 10-pound goose.

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