ROAST GOOSE (AMERICAN/FUSION)
We did a roast goose for Christmas, and it was a great success, although I decided against using a high-heat procedure that I'd originally speculated about. I decided that as fatty as goose is, a 2 1/2 hour session at 450F would fill the house with so much smoke that it would spoil dinner.
Instead, I chose a traditional preparation with a mashed-potato stuffing, somewhat modified from The American Heritage Cookbook, and it worked like a champ.
It didn't take very long to make the stuffing, using the Cuisinart as a time- saver: Peel and cube one large baking potato and simmer it in salted water for about 20 minutes, then drain (reserving a little of the water) and mash with a fork, using just enough potato water to make a firm, dry mashed potato, about 2 cups. (Precision not critical.) While the potato is cooking, use the Cuisinart (steel blade) to chop a chunk of Italian or French bread (crust trimmed off) into about 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs. Set them aside, then process one medium onion, 1/2 cups celery leaves, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, and a sprig of sage (or 1 teaspoon dried) until it's all chopped fine. Mix together the mashed potatoes, all the dry ingredients, and two eggs, with 1 teaspoon salt and a sprinkle of black pepper and nutmeg.
Wash and drain the goose, cleaning the interior well; pull out and discard all the fat that you can. Rub the interior with a lemon half. Fill the cavity with the stuffing and close the vent with toothpicks. Put a stalk of celery and a smashed garlic clove in a large, shallow roasting pan, put the goose in the pan on a rack, and place it in a preheaded oven at 450F. Let it cook at this high temperature just until it starts to sizzle, about 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F and roast for a total of 20 minutes per pound, about three hours for our nine-pound bird. Use a baster to draw off the accumulated fat from time to time, discarding most and using a bit of it to baste the bird periodically.
The bird turned out golden-brown, with surprisingly grease-free meat (it comes in dark and extra dark) and crackling, glass-crisp skin. The stuffing, too, didn't absorb much fat (thankfully), and the combination of stuffing and roast-goose flavors went together remarkably well.
Both our wine choices went fine. The high-end Clos Windsbuhl Vendange Tardive Tokay Pinot Gris was almost too rich for any food, but the robust flavor of roast goose was probably the best possible food match for it. (Curiously enough, it also showed startlingly well with an exotic fruit salad that my wife threw together, featuring orange segments, fresh pineapple, sliced kiwi and carambola (star fruit) on romaine leaves in a light lime vinaigrette.) The alternate red, an inexpensive Languedoc Mourv edre, went well, too; its dry, tart earthiness made a nice foil for the darker meat. Beer? I think an India Pale Ale would have been just about perfect.