Roast Goose

Roasting a goose is quite an undertaking.
I discovered it is, at least, a three-day affair!
You might want to make sure the large roasting pan fits your oven before you embark upon this event…

Facts: A 12+ pound bird would serve about 8 people, max.
I obtained mine from Puritan Poultry at the Fairfax/3rd St Farmers Markets. Cost was approx $68.00.

Day One: First, obtain your goose, preferably fresh, washed and cleaned.
Add at least TWO DAYS if you need to thaw it!!
Day Two: Brine your goose overnight
Day Three: Prepare, stuff, roast then serve goose – this will take at least one hour prep time, followed by roasting, basting and serving over 3 & ½ hours, from 5 until about 8.30pm.

1 fresh goose, 11-13 lbs.
About 8 sweet apples, cored and cut into slices
8 small pears, peeled but with the stems left intact
zest of 2 well-washed oranges
some ground ginger (or cardamom)
accompanying vegetables
Note – some people stuff with breaded/herb stuffing and/or ground pork and veal mixture…


Have your butcher wash the goose inside and out and remove the gizzards, neck etc. and pull all the excess white fat from the goose’s cavity – you can reserve this stuff if you’d like to use it later.

Brine your goose.

some cinnamon sticks
a handful of cardamom pods, first mashed in a mortar
a few bay leaves


Find a container that will hold your goose with enough space around it to allow the brine to move freely. Cover your goose with cold — even icy — water, which you should measure as you add. Mine worked out to be 3 gallons. Then, for each gallon, put into a saucepan ½ cup of salt and ½ cup of sugar. Add a few cups of water and bring to a boil to dissolve. Off the heat, add whatever flavorings you’d like, see above ingredients.

Let brine cool and then pour into the water surrounding the goose. Refrigerate (yeah, right! I don’t live in a restaurant) or store in a cool place for about 24 hours, longer for a giant bird.

Next day, remove the goose, pat it dry inside and out with paper towels, and either use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Discard brine.

Let the goose come to room temperature for 3 or 4 hours before roasting. As I did not refrigerate while brining, I prepped it right away.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 deg C).

Choose a heavy roasting pan just large enough to hold the goose comfortably.

Fry two large, roughly diced onions in olive oil until golden. Take off heat and throw in a handful of fresh sage.

Fill cavity with onions and sage mix, and your sliced apples (I left the skin on). Finally, I squeezed half a large lemon into the cavity opening and threw the lemon half in as well. It was sort of an afterthought – I probably should have doused the apple slices with lemon juice.

Roast Goose w stuffing

Using a knife, cut small slits all over goose – do not puncture flesh, just pierce the fat. The knife must be held nearly flat to the surface in order to do this.

Place goose on a rack, on its side, in your massive roasting pan. In case you haven’t worked it out, this was the biggest thing I have ever cooked.

Roast for ½ an hour, then turn goose onto its other side and baste. Lower heat to 325 deg F and roast for 1 hour. Turn goose onto its back (breast facing up), remove rack and roast for a further hour at 325 deg F. Check temp during that last half hour and baste frequently.

Total roasting time for my 12+ pound bird, in my convection oven, was 3 hours.

Also during the last hour of cooking, roast your pears in the goose fat around the bird (that’s why you remove the rack) that have been sprinkled (rubbed?) with ground ginger mixed with orange zest.

Also roast your seasoned potatoes and other vegetables in a separate pan during that last hour or even hour and a half, frequently basting with goose fat. I used a separate oven and was able to keep a higher temperature for the veg. Or you can roast your veg alongside the goose and pears (if there’s room) but they will be quite sodden with goose fat.

Roast goose until brown and your instant-read meat thermometer, when inserted into thickest part of thigh, registers 175 deg F.

Let the goose rest for 20 minutes before carving and serve on a large platter, surrounded by the little roast pears and the apple stuffing. Cook your peas.

When you remove the goose from the oven, drain off and reserve goose fat and, if necessary, return your veg to the oven, cranking up the heat, while the goose rests and is then carved. That should work.

Enjoy accolades!

My comments:

While my husband and guests raved (one couldn’t stop sneaking bits off the bird while we were cleaning up and took home a huge thigh and drumstick) I did not love this dish and will never make it again. All that labor would have been worth it only for a sensational meal that also knocked MY socks off.

I really like duck (in restaurants – I have never roasted one myself, but I will now) but I realize I do not care for goose. All the meat is very dark – darker than duck – and fairly strong, yet not too gamey, and very rich.

I also may have overcooked my goose a little (yet it was not dry), as the temp was very high at the three hour mark and I should have been checking it more often during that last half hour.

I thought the pears were wonderful and will do those again (I reserved a ton of silky goose fat for future cooking) but others preferred the apples over the pears (but loved both).

The goose-fat drenched and roasted potatoes were fantastic — super brown and crispy!
I also served carrot sticks that had been baked in butter and Grand Marnier until they were a little sticky and delicious, as well as boiled peas.

While this meal was a tremendous success, I would much rather make and eat many other dishes over this one. Leftovers were enjoyed the next day, but not by me!

I intend to make a fabulous stock from the carcass, skim it and freeze it then probably use it for Risotto.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


  • Goose never has as much meat as you think it’s going to have, which when you’re paying $80 for a fresh Canadian goose at Bristol Farms is kind of a big deal. But you do get one delicious dinner, plus probably enough random scraps to make an even better garbure. (Try the mock garbure recipe from Barbara Kafka’s roasting book, which also has a great roast goose recipe.) The stripped carcass, unlike a similarly constituted turkey carcass, makes about a quart and a half of dark, kickass stock. And the goose fat left at the bottom, often as much as a quart, is the oil of the gods: sautee with it, melt down vegetables with it, or lubricate thinly sliced potatoes with it and roast until they are golden and crisp. Goose is one bird that keeps on giving.

  • Okay, I was the carcass-picking guest and I’m here to say that the meal was divine. However, after reading the description of all that work, I don’t think I would ever do it. At least not such a labor intensive way. But who knew how rich and wonderful goose is! And thank you Max for sharing it with me!

  • My stomach is absolutely growling and reaching towards my monitor and your gorgeous pictures. I have become quite a fan of non-standard birds, I’m looking forward to your duck write up so I know how to tackle my first go at it!

  • Hey, cats — thanks very much for all the enthusiastic responses!

    Yeah, it’s true — geese have a huge ribcage and v little flesh for what you shell out. Perhaps predicting 8 persons was a little ambitious? We were a manageable table of 4! A meaty/bready stuffing would help, for a large party.

    I thought my library was complete, but now I think I must have Barbara Kafka’s Roasting-A Simple Art cookbook.
    Thanks very much for the rec.

    Next, I will try her Roast Duck recipe.
    Foodlovers — stay tuned!

    But I am truly stumped. What on earth is “garbure”? Neither dictionary nor provides insight…

    Yeah, goose fat is a dream to cook with. I used to buy it from a frenchy supplier (Made in France — Valley; Surfas has it too.) It is light and non-greasy and fairly easy to digest, for an animal fat. Some people even dress a salad with goose fat (!) but I only use top E V olive oil for that purpose.

    Stuffyerface — thanks v much for the invaluable loan of the massive baking dish, meat thermometer and — above all — your super appetite. More complimentary to a cook than mere words! xox

  • From here:

    “Sovereign soup. A vegetable or meat soup so thick that it is practically a stew. One recipe instructs that if you set the ladle in the middle of the tureen, it should be able to stand up on its own. Garbure has many variations, most of which include potatoes, cabbage, beans, pork, and preserved goose.”

    I have never heard of it either, sounds like my kind of thing!

  • Would this also work with a turkey, in terms of taste? I’ve got a gigantic holiday meal coming up and spending 200+ on geese may be too much for my pockets.

  • I have a brining recipe for turkey that was different to this one —,,FOOD_9936_8389,00.html

    Basically —
    1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen (?) young turkey

    For the brine:
    1 cup kosher salt
    ½ cup light brown sugar
    1 gallon vegetable stock
    1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    ½ tablespoon allspice berries
    ½ tablespoon candied ginger
    1 gallon iced water

    For the aromatics (stuffing):
    1 red apple, sliced
    ½ onion, sliced
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 cup water
    4 sprigs rosemary
    6 leaves sage
    olive oil

    I think brining really makes a difference, in terms of flavour and succulence.

    No idea if the stuffing and pears would work with turkey. Think the goose fat is an important factor, here.

  • Max , I have taken the adventure of cooking a goose for christmas and thanksgiving ( I must be one the only perons in America who doesn’t “Do the Turkey “). I must admit that I enjoy the prepartion and build to the occasion of setting the table with the large bird and when it comes down to taste I like this recipe. As much as brining the bird is part of the prepartion ritual it makes the meat tender and moist, able withstand the lengthy baking and in this instance it subutly infuses the zest of the spices with the meat. Like you my big favorites in the overall plate are the pears sprinkled with the zest of an orange. Like duck the goose is fatty and in cooking you need to spoon it out of the pan. (Its well worth keeping as a special baking lard)

  • The best method I’ve found so far entails the following: prick your goose all over with a sharp skewer (don’t piece the meat). Get a giant stock pot of water boiling & while using a good kitchen mitt, submerge the goose into the boiling water for about 1-2 mins. You will immediately see the goosebumps. You might have to hold it in 1/2 way and then do the other 1/2 because it probably won’t fit in the pot. Then, step two, put the goose on your roasting rack and let it dry in the refrigerator (uncovered) for a day or you can go for 2 days. The day of the roast, stuff the bird however you wish and roast according to the directions. You will end up with a goose that has a crispy skin and it’s not greasy or fatty at all. I’ve used this method and wouldn’t think about doing it differently. Alot of recipes out there say to pour boiling water over the bird as it roasts…it’s simply an offshoot of the method I’ve described above and it is nowhere nearly as effective. Try my way and you won’t roast a goose any other way.


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