A to Z Recipes
Roast Michaelmas Goose
with Apples and Prunes

"Green" geese which had fed on pasture, made a traditional feast for Michaelmas, in late September, and were less fatty than Christmas geese. In Ireland and northern England, it was thought that if you ate goose at Michaelmas you would have good luck for the rest of the year. The roast bird was always accompanied by apples, as windfalls were plentiful. Geese are in season from September to December but are not so widely available nowadays. Serves 8.

INGREDIENTS: Oven-ready goose with giblets - 4-5 kg (9-11 lb), thawed if frozen, Butter - 15g (* oz), Onion - 1 large, chopped, No-soak prunes - 450g (1 lb), Port - 4 tbsp, Fresh sage - 1 tbsp, chopped, Fresh breadcrumbs - 110g (4 oz), Cox's Orange Pippin apples - 6, cored and cut into 8 pieces, Dry white wine - 300 ml (* pint).

COOKING: 1. Pre-heat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6.
2. Prick the skin of the goose all over with a sharp skewer or fork and pull the inside fat out of the bird and reserve.
3. To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened. Separate the goose liver from the giblets and chop finely, then add to the onion and cook gently for 2-3 minutes.
4. Remove the stones from half the prunes and discard. Chop the prunes roughly and stir into the onion with the port. Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the sage and breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly together.
5. Spoon the stuffing into the neck end of the goose, then truss with strong cotton or fine string. Weigh the bird.
6. Put the bird on a wire rack placed in a roasting tin. Cover the breast with the reserved fat and then with foil. Roast for 15 minutes per 450g (1 lb) plus 15 minutes, basting frequently.
7. Thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time, drain off the fat and discard. Add the apples to the tin with the remaining prunes. Add the wine. Place the bird on top, standing on the roasting rack. Remove the foil and fat and cook, uncovered, for the last 30 minutes.
8. Serve the roast goose with the cooking juices and the apples and prunes. Plain boiled or mashed potatoes complement the richness of the goose. Braised red cabbage is also a traditional accompaniment.