What a Lot of Effort Goose and Gravy
As Mr. Smith frequently reminds us, one should never try out a new recipe on guests. Even if it comes from a trusted source, you simply cannot be completely confident until you’ve successfully executed it at least once, and that confidence makes the difference between fair and spectacular. You don’t need to hold a dress rehearsal for the entire Christmas feast, but you should make each item on the menu over the course of the next month, noting any differences in cooking time (especially if you have an electric stove).
1 small, frozen goose
1/2 recipe pork stuffing
1 large can chicken stock
3 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
For your test goose, get a small, frozen bird, and let it defrost overnight in the fridge, taking it out early the next morning to finish the melt at room temperature. Once thawed, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the neck and organ bag from the goose, and toss. Remove any fat “pods” from the cavities (they pull right off), and discard. Pull back the skin from the neck cavity and locate the wishbone. Cut around it until you can remove it easily, and get rid of it. Cut the tips off the wings.
Wash the goose with cold water, inside and out, and pat it dry with paper towels. Prick the skin all over with a sharp knife, but don’t pierce the meat. Stick the goose into the boiling water, neck down, and cook for 1 minute. Flip it over and cook for another minute (half the bird will be sticking out of the pot the whole time). Remove it from the water, drain, and pat it dry with paper towels, inside and out. Put it on a cookie sheet and refrigerate it uncovered overnight, letting the skin dry out. Start Phase I of the pork stuffing, but halve the recipe for now.
Set your oven to 325. Finish making the pork stuffing, and pack up the goose. Set it on a wire rack over a roasting pan, insert a meat thermometer into one of the breasts (don’t let it touch the bone), and roast until the internal temperature reaches 170, basting with the drippings every 30 minutes. Depending on size, it will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. Let the goose stand outside of the oven for at least 15 minutes, about the time it will take you to make the gravy if you focus. Any extra stuffing should be put in the oven for the last half hour on the goose clock, then combined with the bird-in stuffing before serving.
Pour the drippings from the pan into a large glass measuring cup and let the liquid stand for two minutes. Use a bulb baster to separate the fat on top from the drippings on the bottom. Add enough water or chicken stock to the drippings to make 2 C of liquid. Heat 3 tbsp of the fat in the pan over a burner set to medium-high, and whisk in 3 tbsp flour. Let the roux cook for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the stock while whisking vigorously. Once the gravy is smooth and even, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a boat.
If you’ve done exactly as directed, you should be ready to sit down to a delicious preview of the main event. Otherwise, make it again, and try to do what I say this time.