Thank you all for your patience; I know you've been ever so anxious to hear what transpired at our Christmas Eve goose roast. Well, your wait is over! Here we go:
The goose spent a little over 2 days thawing. By the time we were all set to start preparations last Monday afternoon, it was completely unfrozen and ready to go. We unwrapped the bird, removed the gizzards and such, rinsed it thoroughly inside and out, and patted it dry. We then set about removing all the loose fat, of which there was an enormous quantity. Seriously, I was scooping it out by the handful. The goose is a fatty, fatty bird. All told, I must have pulled out a good two or three pounds of the stuff (enough to fill a standard dinner bowl). When that was done, we patted the bird dry again. Next we perforated the skin by poking it with bamboo skewers. This helps even more of the subcutaneous fat drain during the roasting process. It's important not to puncture straight into the muscle tissue, so these were carefully placed perforations, as close to parallel as possible to the skin. The goose was patted dry again. (It's also important that the skin be as dry as possible for roasting, as this will help it to tighten and push out the fat while keeping the meat nice and moist.) A thorough rub-down with salt and pepper followed, along with another patting-dry, and then we rubbed the goose with fresh thyme.
All the while, Tom was working on the stuffing, which consisted of apples, pearl onions, garlic, sausage and sage. This was sauteed briefly and stuffed into the goose.
Once stuffed, the goose was sewn closed, sprinkled with a bit more thyme, and ready to go in the oven.
The goose took about 4 1/2 hours to roast, all told. The boys turned it a couple of times, and cranked the heat up near the end to get a nice crackly skin. For a side dish, Tom made some roasted potatoes with rosemary.
Soon enough, our goose was cooked!
During the cooking process, the goose lost an additional quart or so of fat. Seriously, geese are nothing like turkeys. (For one thing, they are made entirely of delicious dark meat, which is fantastic.) I can easily imagine how a Christmas goose would have served several purposes in the days of yore - meat for several days, a nice big pot of stock, and enough fat or oil to keep lamps lit or winter clothes waterproofed or whatever you like.
So all told, our meal consisted of a salad, the apple-onion-garlic-sausage stuffing, rosemary potatoes, and delicious goose. Max made a savory sort of cherry sauce to go on the meat (cherries, balsamic vinegar, butter, some red wine), and Tom made a bread pudding with raisins & cranberries for dessert. Clearly, it was all terribly unpalatable, and we couldn't eat a bite.