For decades, turkey has been the crowning glory of Christmas dinner.
But experts reckon this year will be the first in recent times when goose overtakes it on the nation’s dining tables – and it’s all down to trendy chefs and geese farmers joining The Archers.
So as Lancashire families start their preparations, chef Steve Smith, from the award-winning Freemasons at Wiswell, has shared his top tips for the perfect Christmas goose.
He said: “I’d start by taking the legs off and salting them for 12 hours. Then I’d slow- cook them in goose fat for six hours so you have a confit.
“For the rest of the bird, I’d take the whole of it, very, very lightly season with oil and put it in a trivet.
“A trivet is where you have a bed of vegetables that allows the goose to sit in the oven nicely.
You want to cook the goose low and slow, because it’s a hard-working bird and there’s a high fat contentSteve Smith
“You want to cook the goose low and slow, because it’s a hard-working bird and there’s a high fat content.
“I’d probably start it high at about 220 degrees celcius so you get the caramelisation, and then after 30 minutes I’d drop it down to about 150.
“It probably needs a total of two to two-and-a-half hours, but everyone’s got a different oven at home, so use your instincts.
“You’ll smell when it’s cooked, but touch it as well. You can eat goose when it’s pink, so it’s not quite the same as turkey, though, with juices running clear.”
For the gravy, Steve recommends using the goose juices that have run into the trivet.
He said: “I’d put it all in a pan with a knob of butter and that’s your gravy.
“I’d throw some fresh oranges in too, because goose is very fatty and you need something acidic to balance it.”
Goose doesn’t feature on the Christmas menu at The Freemasons, as Steve thinks Lancastrians are more traditional in their tastes. He said: “I’m not 100 per cent sure that if you carried out the same research around here, you’d find goose was overtaking turkey.
“It’s not the cheapest meat, and I think people are more traditional in wanting turkey, which is massively popular for us.
“We get people coming in five or six times a year having the same turkey meal.
“Goose could make a nice starter, though.”