Dickens’ Christmas Dinner Menu
- Christmas Salad
- Roast Goose with Sour Cherry Sauce
- Chestnut Stuffing
- Wild Rice
- Haricots Verts
- Christmas Pudding
I lucked out this year and got a free-range goose! I was so happy when I found it that I was jumping up and down. It was going to be a Dickens’ Christmas after all!
There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness1, were the themes of universal admiration….
In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.
`A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us.’
Which all the family re-echoed. `God bless us every one.’ said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 1843
Dicken’s Christmas a Roast Goose
Goose is a very fatty bird. That’s because it spends a great deal of its time in the water, and the fat keeps it warm. They also do a lot of flying – if you live in North America, you could be treated to seeing the Canadian Geese flying South for the winter. No worries, the domesticated goose you get from the butcher didn’t get shot down going over the border. The geese for the table is usually the Embden goose, and it lived on a nice farm, with organic feed, and plenty of places to run and play.
Once you start taking the goose out of its package, you will notice just how fatty it is. But, that’s okay, that fat can be rendered down and makes some of the most flavorful dishes on earth. That fat is prized by European chefs and is going to be a healthy fat alternative in my refrigerator.
I cooked the bird in my 18-quart Nesco. I used the double rack and put the bird on the top rack, so it would not cooking in its own fat. I added some water to the bottom to keep the fat from burning. In the end, I put the rack on a sheet pan and put it into the oven at 400 to crisp up the skin. It was wonderful!
There are also giblets and the neck that come in the cavity of your bird. You can use the neck to make a delicious soup stock. I, personally, don’t like gizzard, so that is going to the cats. I love hearts – the heart managed to get cooked inside the goose, and we found it when carving it – oh my goodness, it was so good! The liver is going to be cooked in that wonderful fat, flavored, and eaten as a pate. Yum! Even the cats enjoyed their Dicken’s Christmas Roast Goose dinner.
- 1 Goose
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Celery tops
- Onions skins and roots
- If your goose came frozen, you will want to defrost it in the refrigerator for two days.
- Start removing the fat from the tail area of the bird. You will have a lot of fat, but don't throw it away!
- Remove the giblets. Don't throw them away. Please see below*
- Rinse the bird thoroughly, then take a fork and prick all the skin well. This is important so the fat comes out while roasting.
- Put the celery, onion, and apple in the cavity. If you have other vegetable or fruit bits laying about, put them in as well.
- Goose in the Nesco cook well
- Fill the bottom of your roaster with about an inch of water. Put the rack in. Try to raise the rack above that water, two clean cat food cans do a good job.
- Put the goose on the rack, breast side up, and roast your goose at 350F 176C for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It should be 165F 73.89C on an instant-read thermometer.
- Let the goose rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.
You can place stuffing inside the bird, but I always worry about cross contamination. Cooking time is also longer when you put dressing inside the bird.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons Sour Cherry preserve
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 teaspoon whiskey
- In a small pan, melt the butter and add the cornstarch. Whisk the cornstarch thoroughly so there are no lumps.
- Add the preserve, whiskey, and mustard, and continue stirring constantly until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Put in a nice serving dish and serve warm with goose or other gamey fowl.
1 At the time that Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, a goose was the least expensive of the holiday birds, turkey at the time was wild and much leaner than it is today, and therefore the most expensive. Today, In the United States, turkey is the most popular fowl for holiday celebrations, in the UK, the goose is still popular. This may be one of the reasons that goose is the most expensive and costs around $85.00 – I was lucky, mine was in the mark-down frozen food section, and with a smile and wink to the manager, I got my goose for $25.00