Traditional Irish Christmas

Christmas Roast Goose & Cider Fruit Cake

Recipe for the Goose:
Serves: 6-8
Preparation: 45-60 minutes
Cooking: 3 hours, plus 30 mins resting before carving

4.5kg / 10 lb trussed and oven ready fresh goose, with giblets
Sea or rock salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the Giblet Stock:
Giblets fromt he goose (excluding fat)
1 medium onion sliced
1 carrot peeled & quatered
1 bay leaf
A small handful of parsley stalks
Pared zest of 1 orange
For the Stuffing:
1 kg / 2lbs of cooked, peeled & mashed potatoes
1 medium onion peeled & chopped finely
1 medium Brambly apple peeled & chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
3 tsp chopped fresh mint Pepper & salt Goose sweetbread chopped
2 loin rashers chopped small
1 lb / 125g butter 5
0 ml of milk Recipe

Method: Make the stock by putting the washed giblets heart, neck, gizzard and wingtips into a saucepan. Add the vegetables, herbs seasoning and water. Cover the pan, bring to the boil. Skim. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the stock into a measuring jug - you need about 600 ml / 1pt. Cover and leave to cool. Chill until needed. To make the Stuffing: Fry the bacon in 25g of the butter until clear. Remove and add the onion and cook until soft and clear. Cut up the sweetbread or pancreas into small pieces and cook for 1 min. Add onions, sweetbread, Brambly apple chopped to mashed potatoes along with herbs and sugar. Season with pepper and salt. Melt remaining butter and add sufficient to make the mixture light and fluffy but not too wet. Prepare for Roasting: Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. Wash inside and outside with running water. Dry well. Remove any visible fat and leave in a cool dry place to dry thoroughly. Prick the breast and legs in several places with a fork and sprinkle with sea or rock salt. Place the goose on a rack breast side down and cook the goose for the first half-hour in the preheated oven at 200C / 400F/ Gas 6. Put a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven so that the steam helps to crisp the skin. Drain off the fat and put the hot stuffing loosely into the cavity of the goose. The remainder of the stuffing can be put into greaseproof paper and cooked for the last half an hour by the side of the goose. Reduce the temperature to 160C / 325F / Gas 3 for 2 hours. Cover the breast with home cured bacon. Cover loosely with foil and if the goose is very fat remove more oil after a further hour. For the last hour expose the breast and allow the goose to brown. Test the Goose is Cooked: Pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer - the juices should run clear. Carefully lift the goose out of the foil, drain and put the goose on a warmed platter. Cover it loosely with fresh foil and allow to rest for 1/2 an hour before carving (this is important as during this time the meat fibres relax and the juices settle, making carving the meat easier. To Make the Gravy : Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the tin. Keep all the goose fat as it is very good for roasting potatoes. Deglaze the juices with 1 tablespoon of Irish whiskey. Flame the juices. Add in 1 tbsp of flour. Cook for 2 mins. Add in 300 ml of the prepared goose stock. Bring to the boil and cook well for 2-3 mins. Correct seasoning. Strain and serve. Choosing a Goose: Look for a goose that is white and plump with plenty of breast meat. Generous fat is a good sign too - it will dissolve during cooking. Dark skinned birds with a prominent breastbone are scrawny and tough - no good for anyone Don't waste the Goose Fat: It's full of flavour, so cover and chill for up to 2 weeks and use for roasting vegetables.

Cider Fruit Cake
750g / 1 1/2 lb plain flour
1 1/2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (or breadsoda)
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
225g / 8 oz softened butter
375g / 3 lb soft brown sugar
500g / 1 lbsultanas
500g / 1 lb raisins
55g / 2 oz mixed peel
55g / 2 oz glace cherries
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2  eggs beaten
250 ml / 1/2 pint cider
2 50 ml / 1/2 pint milk

Recipe Method:
Sieve the flour, breadsoda or bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl and then rub in the butter until it is like fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and the fruit. Add the lemon rind and mix well. Add the lemon juice to the cider. Stir the egg into the mixture followed by the cider and then the milk. The resulting mixture will be quite wet. Stir well and leave covered in a cool place overnight. The fruit will have taken up a lot of the moisture overnight. Stir again. Next turn into a lined 11" round or 10" square baking tin. Preheat oven to 160C / 325F / Gas 3 for 1 1/2 hours. When the cake has a set appearance you can reduce the heat to 150C / 300F / Gas 2-3. Bake for a further 1 1/2 - 2 hours until the cake is cooked right through. Stand the cake and tin on a wire tray and allow the cake to cool in the tin. Turn out and remove the lining paper, cover with greaseproof paper and foil and store in a cool dark dry place until required. This cake can keep well for around 6 weeks.


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