Festive dinner for 10: Recipes and prepation
Roast Goose with chestnut stuffing
Ham with fennel
Orange and cumin root mash
Smoke paprika brussels sprouts
Home made gravy
You will need approximately 6 hours to prepare and cook everything. To make things a bit easier you could start by making the stuffing the night before the meal . You can also precook the ham as it is delicious in room temperature of slighly warmed up. It’s up to you how you want to prepare your meal but I always start with the dish that takes longer to cook. In this case you can start with the goose preparation or the ham. Much depends on your kitchen and cooking space, e.g. you might want to finish with the ham because you need all hobs or the pot it cooks in. Whatever your way it helps to have at least one of the meats cooking whilst preparing vegetable and dessert.
If you only want to cook the pork the cooking time can be reduced to 3 hours. Enjoy!
For the goose stuffing, 30-45mins:
1 -2 bunches of spring onions
2-3 handfuls of cooked peeled and roughly chopped chestnuts
500gr of lean minced beef
1 liver of goose
a large bunch of dill
a large bunch of parsley
2-3 slices of stale bread, preferably whole meal
1-2 handfuls or a small bag of pine nuts
large black raisins (optional)
1-2 Tbspns rice
a knob of butter
You can start with preparing your stuffing or start on it once your ham is already simmering away.
This is my mom and dad’s special stuffing. It is particularly good with game and lamb but they also use it to stuff turkey and chicken. I think it is ideal with goose. You should use the liver of bird or meat you stuff. Waste nothing of an animal that has been sacrificed to feed you.
Fry the sliced onions in a knob of butter for a few minutes. Add the minced meat and diced liver, and sauté for 10-15 minutes before adding the rice and a bit of water. It is important to par cook the rice before stuffing the bird as it will not cook much during the roasting time. In the meantime and while the meat is cooking grill the stale bread on both sides and then crumble with your fingers. Add the pine nuts, raisins, finely chopped herbs and chestnuts to the mixture. If the stuffing looks dry now is the time to add a bit more butter or oil. Add the crumbled bread last and follow with seasoning with salt and pepper. Set your stuffing aside.
For the Roast goose, 5.5hrs:
5kg goose with extra fat and giblets removed
Zest of 1-2 limes
You can season your goose before preparing the stuffing to let the lime and salt flavour seep in. This way once your stuffing is ready you are better prepared to place the bird in the over.
For my festive goose, I rubbed the cavity and skin of the bird with a mixture of lime rind and coarse salt. I then stuffed the bird, placed on a rack in a backing tray and cooked for a full five hours. The first 30 minutes I cooked the bird in 240 degrees Celsius and then reduced the heat to 190 degrees Celsius. I had to borrow the large oven of my dear friend Dr Dodds. This is one thing to remember when cooking goose. You need a large oven, and someone must always oversee the cooking to remove the excess fat in from the baking tray and to regularly baste the bird with the goose fat. You also need to factor in at least 30 minutes for the bird to sit before carving. The overall cooking time (including the preparation of stuffing and sitting before carving) can be up to 6 hours so start early. A 5 kg bird was enough for 10 people but our a meal also included a generous amount of vegetable and a taste of the special fennel ham the recipe for which follows below. And we had leftovers.
I have cooked goose a few times now and each time cooking has required 1 hr per kilo of the bird, no more no less, initially in a very hot oven (250 degrees Celsius) and then at 190 and 175 degrees. This contradicts many cooking instructions from the experts who suggest that 15 min for 450gr plus 20 minutes at the end. I think goose roasting takes me a lot longer because I stuff the bird tightly and there is no hot air circulating though its cavity. Even though I cook the meat a lot longer than suggested it remains moist.
Goose is fatty and flavoursome and does not need much dressing before it cooks. Goose used to be the traditional Christmas dinner in Britain for the poor, whilst the rich enjoyed beef. As usual, it seems the poor had better taste.
Nowadays goose is very expensive but it is worth making enquires with your local butchers or at the local farmers market to compare costs. I had promised Mrs Zoe English goose I had to pre-order mine from Madgetts farm and picked the bird up at Roath farmers market on the morning of the dinner. The bird was cleaned beautifully and the excess fat that hides in the bird was removed for rendering in the future. This careful preparation made the cooking process a lot easier and reduced the amount of fat that we had to remove from the tray.
For the fennel ham and its glaze, 2-3 hrs:
2-3kg of a gammon joint
1 root of fennel
1 large onion
1 Tbspn coriander seeds
1 Tbspn black pepper corns
2-4 star anise (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fennel seeds
250ml of red wine or more (I always use more)
Enough boiling water to cover the gammon in a large pot
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp smoked paprika (sweet)
2-3 Tbspns of honey
enough boiling water to dissolve the honey
a splash of red wine vinegar
You can start cooking the ham once the goose is in the oven or start the preparation of the meal with it.
This is a much loved dish that I first cooked 5 years ago at Christmas. The original recipe comes from Nigella Lawson but I constantly adapt it to the ingredients available and have many variations to choose from.
This recipe is a guaranteed success: I promise that even those who don’t like fennel will enjoy this as the slow cooking only subtly infuses the ham with the spices and herbs used. You can keep the ham for up to a week in the fridge and have with bread and piccalilli: a Dodds and Moutselou Christmas favourite!
Place your gammon in a deep pot. Add the star anise, peppercorns, coriander and fennel seeds, the fennel root and onion sliced in half, wine and enough boiling water to cover the bird. Simmer slowly for a few hours. Again the rule of thumb is to simmer for an hour per kilo of your joint. When the joint is soft and cooked remove carefully from the pot as it is soft and could fall apart.
Whilst the pork is cooking prepare your glaze by dissolving the honey in hot water over the hob, add the vinegar, paprika and cinnamon. Add enough water for the glaze to be watery at the beginning and then allow it to simmer down and thicken after 5-10 minutes.
Slice half of the skin and excess fat off from the pork; pierce it with cloves in diagonal patterns. Pour the glaze over the pork, making sure it is covered evenly. Place under a strong grill or glaze with a glazing gun. Allow the meat to sit for at least 30 minutes before carving.
For the best roast potatoes, 3hrs:
2.5-3 kg Sante or other roasting potatoes
Rosemary, salt and pepper
Goose fat or olive oil
This is the next dish you should start on as it takes approximately 3 hours to peel, par boil and roast potatoes.
Roast potatoes or Roasties is one of the dishes I keep trying to get right but don’t always get there. For this meal Dan prepared the perfect roasties using much goose fat, some chopped rosemary and salt and pepper.
I think the trick for making great roasties is patience but also cooking your parboiled potatoes (10min max) in a high temperature oven for 2 to 2 ½ hours. It is also important to ‘shake’ the parboiled potatoes in the pot, after you drain them, in order to fluff them up before roasting, as this makes them crunchier.
Dan also thinks it is also very important to pick the right type of potatoes. He discovered that santé potatoes sold at Bleancamel stall at Roath Farmer’s market are perfect for roasties. Give those a try and let us know what you think.
For the orange and cumin root mash, 30-40minutes:
1 Tbspn or more cumin
Zest of orange
2-3 Tbspn of maple syrup
A couple of bay leaves
salt and pepper
butter and olive oil
Once the goose and roasties are in the oven you have time to prepare your vegetable and complete your ham recipe. Even if you chose to cook your goose for less than 5 hours , or just get a smaller goose.
This root mash goes very well with goose and duck. If you add boiled puy lentil to it you have a brilliant vegetarian meal in itself. This is a clever use of leftovers or a vegetarian alternative.
Peel and roughly cube all your vegetable in a deep pot, add the bay leaves and boil for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain vegetable well and return to the pot. Add plenty of butter and olive oil, the cumin and some orange zest, and the maple syrup. Mash roughly for a lumpy finish and season well with salt and pepper.
For smoked paprika Brussels sprouts, 15-20min:
A knob of butter or more
2 tspns or more of sweet smoked paprika
1kg of boiled Brussels sprouts
This is a beautifully tasty sprouts recipe that might even convert those sprout haters. Prepare the brussel sprouts by slicing off their base and carving an X at the bottom. Boil or steam for about 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a pot or pan, throw the sweet smoked paprika in and toss in the cooked sprouts. Add more butter if needed and season.
Gravy and sauce, up to 1hr and 10min:
The cooked fennel root and juices the ham cooked in
A celery stick
some bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Cornflour (as much quantity as you need)
Goose giblets much boiling water
Salt and pepper
Cornflour (as much quantity as you need)
Start simmering the gibblets in enough boiling water (about a litre) after you place your roast potatoes in the oven and allow at least 1 hour of simmering time. But make your gravy and sauce just before you serve the meal and whilst the goose is cooling down or is being carved.
Do not throw away any of your fennel pork roast juices. You can mash the fennel in a food processor, return to your strained pork juices, add a bit of diluted corn flower and make a fantastic sauce to accompany the pork. You can store your pork stock in the freezer and use for future pork roasts or soups.
For this festive meal we made gravy using the goose giblets and adding a celery stick, a bay leaf and simmering for at least 1 hour. Then we strained juices carefully in another pot. According to Mr English (who is not at all English but very Welsh) the best way to make smooth gravy is to dissolve a couple of teaspoons of corn flour in a little water for a creamy mixture and add gradually to your simmering gravy juice. This method guarantees the perfect gravy with no lumps. Thanks Matt!
Happy Christmas from Lia’s kitchen!