You need to plan way ahead to prepare this properly and have it done on time, but if you want a traditional Christmas goose a la Tom Cratchet, this is it. The recipe was published in Saveur Magazine in December, 2003. While I haven't tried it since I don't care for goose that much, if you purchase a quality bird, you'll have a quality meal to remember.

If you can't find a good quality bird (and don't try shooting down a wild one!), try ordering on-line from sources such as dartagnan.com.

Serves: 8
1 11-13 lb. fresh or thawed goose -- trim excess fat
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 apples
2 medium yellow onions
6 whole cloves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup rum
8 McIntosh apples
2 tablespoons butter -- cut in 8 pieces
1 cup water
4 russet potatoes
Kosher salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs -- beaten
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Leaves from 2 sprigs parsley -- chopped
1 small yellow onions -- thinly sliced
1 small red cabbage, quartered and cored -- thinly sliced
1/2 apple, peeled, cored -- julienned
2 1/2 cups red wine
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
6 tablespoons butter -- melted
6 cups cooked peeled chestnuts
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 425 F. Trim off goose wing tips, put into a small pot and set aside. Prick goose skin all over with the tip of a paring knife. Rub bird inside and out with marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper. Stud apples and onions with cloves, then stuff them into the cavity of the bird. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Heat oil in a large heavy roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add goose and cook until browned all over, about 15 minutes total. Transfer goose to a platter and set aside. Drain off fat from the pan into a medium bowl and set aside. Return pan to medium heat and add wine and water; cook, scraping up browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes.

Return the goose to the pan, breast side up, and roast until skin begins to crisp, 35-45 minutes. Siphon off fat in the pan with a bulb baster, adding the fat to the bowl with fat, leaving juices in the pan. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. and continue roasting until juices run clear when pricked and skin is brown and crisp. about 35-50 minutes more, siphoning off fat once or twice more as it roasts.

Meanwhile, add stock to the pot containing the wing tips and simmer over medium heat 30 minutes. Strain, discarding solids, and set aside.

Soak raisins in rum in a small bowl until plump, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Core apples, leaving bottoms intact, and put into a medium baking dish, hole side up. Drain raisins, then stuff into apple cavities and top each with a piece of butter/ Add water to the dish, cover with foil, and bake until apples are soft but still intact, 45-50 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 200 F. and keep apples warm in the oven.

Put potatoes into a large pot of salted cold water, bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until soft, 25-30 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously boiling salted water to boil over high heat. Peel potatoes and press through a potato ricer onto a clean surface. Gather potatoes while still warm into a mound and make a well in the center. Add 2 cups of the flour, the eggs, butter and salt into the well and gently mix and knead dough until smooth, adding up to 4 tablespoons more flour if dough is too tacky.

Divide dough into 12 pieces. Lightly flour your hands and roll weach piece into a ball. Working in two batches, add dough balls to pot of water, reduce heat to medium, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until dumplings float and are cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a warm plate and cover with foil to keep warm with the apples.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the reserved goose fat, (save remaining fat for another use) in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add cabbage and apples and cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in wine, orange juice, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until cabbage is very soft, stirring occasionally, 35-45 minutes. Keep warm over lowest heat.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chestnuts and cook until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Add cream and honey, and cook stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and chestnuts are glazed, 4-5 minutes. Cover skillet and keep warm over lowest heat.

Remove goose from the oven. Remove and discard twine and apples and onions from the cavity of the goose. Transfer goose to a large serving platter and allow to rest 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, drain fat from the pan, then set pan on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Add reserved stock, scraping browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, and boil until reduced by one-quarter. about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain gravy into a warm gravy boat.

Fill goose cavity with the warm chestnuts. Put cabbage next to the goose on the platter. Arrange apples and dumplings around the goose. Moisten goose and cabbage with some of the gavy. Garnish dumplings with parsley. Serve with gravy on the side.

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Copyright 2004 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved