"That's it, " I said to my brother. "I'm not standing in that line. Plan B."
A woman behind the Union Meat counter heard me and said there was another poultry place further down the market.
"Do they have goose?" I asked.
"I don't know, but they don't have a line."
That was enough for me. We went further into the market and found a second poultry stand, manned by cheerful Korean poultry men. They sold me their last goose, with serious injunctions to cook it at 350 degrees for four hours. With glee, my brother and I headed back to the car loaded down with our goose, a bunch of flowers for my husband's arrangements and some deli meat.
Christmas morning was refreshingly relaxed. My daughter arrived around 11:30 and the yms around 3:00. We had time to stuff the stockings and wrap the last minute presents without having to get up too early. After breakfast we drove down to the Mall to look at the state Christmas trees. At 3:00 we were back home and I put the goose in the oven.
My husband, who knows a thing or two, advised me to put a tent of tin foil over the goose to keep the oven from being liberally coated with grease. Initially, I didn't listen to him, and smoke began pouring out of the oven right away. Luckily, the temperature was in the low 50s, so we were able to open all the windows without freezing to death.
I quickly pulled the goose out of the oven and crowned it with a tent of tin foil. Smoke abatement 101. Goose is a wonderful food. It has this lovely rich smell which not only permeated the house but wafted out, perhaps through the open windows, perhaps through the oven vent, so the arriving guests could smell it before they entered the house.
The cooking for Christmas dinner was somewhat fraught. We ended up making two rice dishes, and soup, and cooking straight through to dinner. We didn't even have time to change our clothes before it was time to eat. My son, who was extremely helpful in matters such as filling the water glasses and opening the wine, kept wandering into the kitchen and announcing that people were hungry, so we didn't feel like taking 15 more minutes to change.
Luckily, about 15 minutes before the goose was scheduled to come out, I thought, let's have a look at this. It was brown and crispy looking and the meat had shrunken down the drumsticks. Yikes! We pulled it out of the oven, and it was just right. Goose is dark meat all over, and extremely fatty. We poured a quart jar of fat off the roasting pan.
I had opted for a vegetarian non shellfish stuffing, which I made separately. We did not bother with all the gravy instructions. Goose seemed to be popular with the guests.
1 seven-to-nine-pound goose (reserve giblets)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 recipe oyster stuffing (we used apple celery stuffing)
1 bay leaf
1 rib celery with leaves
3 tablespoons flour
gravy coloring and flavoring
crab apples or range slices
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Wash and clean the goose inside and outside. Wipe dry. Burn off any hairs that remain. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.
3. Using the desired stuffing, stuff the cavity three-quarters full. Put any leftover stuffing under the neck skin. Truss the bird and place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast ten minutes.
4. Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees and continue to roast twenty to twenty-five minutes a pound, removing fat as it accumulates.
5. Meanwhile, wash the gizzard, neck and heart (the liver goes into the stuffing or is sauteed and seasoned as a delicacy) and place in a saucepan with the onion, bay leaf, celery, salt, pepper and water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer several hours.
6. Strain liquid. If desired, chop some of the giblet meat.
7. Transfer the cooked goose to a warm platter. Pour off all but three tablespoons goose fat from the roasting pan. Sprinkle fat in pan with the flour. Cook, stirring, two minutes. Stir in three to four cups strained liquid and the chopped giblet meat. Cook, stirring, until gravy thickens. Season with salt and pepper and add gravy coloring and flavoring (Kitchen Bouquet) if desired.
8. Garnish goose platter with crab apples or orange slices. Serve gravy separately. Makes six servings. (a 12 pound goose served 9 with quite a bit left over.)