15 Dec

6 geese a-laying!

We've certainly got a feast of a treat for you today as part of our 12 Days of Christmas craft projects - six ways to cook goose by Lex Smith, who runs Manchester's premier supper club.

We're up to day six of our 12 Days of Christmas craft projects (how time flies!) and for our six geese a-laying tutorial, we've got Lex Smith - who runs Manchester-based supper club Nomsense - whipping up a storm in the kitchen, showing you how to get the most you can out of just one goose.

"Goose is a bird that I think is synonymous with Christmas," Lex says. "I'm often met with grumbles from people complaining that it's too fatty, too expensive, not enough meat to feed all around a feasting table etc. While these sentiments can be taken as true, there is a lot more you can do with this bird than simply roasting it. Here are six recipes that can all be made out of one bird. Yes, you heard me correctly - six dishes from one bird! With a bit of time, love and attention, this bird can go much further than you may have previously thought. In order to get these six recipes out of the bird, you will need to debone the goose, remove the breasts, legs and wings, and save the carcass and skin - or just ask your butcher to do this for you!"

Goose liver pate

You'll need

175g unsalted butter, softened

450g goose livers, trimmed and cleaned of any sinew

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp thyme leaves

2 tbsp brandy (optional)

If not serving within 48 hours, 55g clarified butter, melted

Simply make

1 Heat half the butter in a frying pan until foaming. Be careful not to overheat and burn the butter.

2 Add the livers and fry on both sides until golden but still tender and pink in the middle.

3 Place the livers, butter and juices into a food processor.

4 In the same pan, heat the remaining butter and sweat the shallots, garlic and thyme.

5 When soft but not browned, add the brandy and flambé until all the alcohol is burnt off.

6 Remove from the heat and scrape all the juices into the food processor.

7 Blend the mixture until it is smooth, check seasoning and season to taste with salt and pepper.

8 Scrape into ramekins ready for serving. If you are not using the pate within 48 hours, cover the top of the ramekins with clarified butter and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Melba toast, salad leaves and cherry compote.

Ballotine of goose breast with jerusalem artichoke puree and port reduction

You'll need

2 goose breasts

12 chestnuts

300g black cherries, pitted

200g Jerusalem artichoke

200g butter

100ml double cream

500ml port (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

Simply make


1 Begin by flattening the breasts by placing them between two pieces of cling film and bashing them with a rolling pin.

2 Season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper.

3 In a food processor, blend together the chestnuts and cherries.

4 Place a generous spoon of the mixture in the middle of the breast.

5 Lay one stuffed breast on a clean square of cling film.

6 Slowly and carefully roll the breast over on itself to make a sausage shape, using the cling film to help and keeping the roll as tight as possible.

7 Twist the ends of the cling film to seal in the ballotine.

8 Repeat with the second breast.

9 These can be cooked either sous vide at 55 degrees C for 1 hour and 30 minutes or in a pan of gently simmering water for 30 minutes.

Port Reduction

1 Place the 500ml of port into a non-stick pan.

2 Bring to the boil then reduce to a low heat.

3 Leave to reduce until the port becomes a sticky glaze.

Jerusalem artichoke puree

1 Peel the artichokes and place in a bowl of water with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice immediately – Jerusalem artichokes oxidise incredibly quickly and unless placed in acidulated water will go brown, resulting in a brown puree.

2 Once all are peeled, melt the butter in a separate pan, strain the artichokes and place in the melted butter over a low heat with a lid on the pan.

3 Leave the artichokes to sweat for 8-10 minutes or until soft when pressed with a knife.

4 When the artichokes are soft, add the cream and heat for a further 5 minutes until the cream is just below boiling point.

5 Blend the mixture until very smooth either in a food processor or with a hand blender.

6 Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast goose legs with apple and brandy reduction (optional)

You'll need

2 goose legs and wings

salt & pepper to season

4 apples

1 star anise

100g butter

2tbsp brandy (optional)

Simply make

1 Season the legs and wings with salt and pepper.

2 Place on a wire rack in a roasting tin (this is so that the fat drips off rather than it roasting in its own fat) and roast for 40 minutes at 180 degrees. 

3 For the apples - peel, core and dice the apples and add to a pan with the butter and star anise. 

4 Cook over a low heat until the apples are soft but still holding their shape. 

5 Add the brandy and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until all the alcohol is burnt off. 

6 Serve the legs on top of a pile of the apples and shredded wing meat.

Rendered goose fat

This is a really simple technique that will render down as much of the fat as possible. This is gorgeous to use for roasting, frying, glazing, you name it! It’s rich and silky smooth and keeps in the fridge for up to 12 months.

1 Remove the fat from the cavity of the bird, around the gizzard and pope's nose and remove the neck skin of the goose.

2 Place in a pan with a little water – this will allow the fat to begin rendering immediately into the water without scorching and once going, the water will evaporate.

3 Place over a low heat until all the fat is rendered and the skin pieces are a golden brown.

4 Strain through muslin and pour into jars. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Wintery goose broth

Both of these recipes require a good goose stock to be made from the carcass of the bird. Place the carcass in a large stockpot and cover with water. Place into the pan some chopped carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves and some thyme. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 2 hours.

You'll need

500ml goose broth

Any left over goose meat or the meat picked from the wings.

4 carrots

4 beetroot

6 baby turnips or one large turnip

100g pearl barley

200g mushrooms

5 shallots


Salt & pepper to season to taste

Simply make

1 Finely dice all the vegetables.

2 Melt the butter in a large frying pan and sweat off the vegetables.

3 Add the vegetables to the stock with the pearl barley and cook for 1 hour over a medium heat.

Game gravy

You'll need

500ml goose stock

50ml whisky (optional)

200g diced game (rabbit, pheasant, pigeon, or a mix)

5 juniper berries

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp parsley

2 cloves of garlic or smoked garlic

salt & pepper to taste

Simply make

1 Heat the butter in a frying pan and sear off the game meat.

2 Add the meat to the goose stock with the spices and braise for two hours over a low heat.

3 Check that the meat is fully cooked and tender.

4 Blend until the gravy is smooth.

In a word, yum! Who would have thought one goose would go quite so far? We hope some of you consider swapping the turkey for a gander this year! Don't forget to check back on the blog tomorrow - we've got a great tutorial for seven swans a-swimming!

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