With a chestnut, fruit & spice stuffing, and red wine gravy

©darius diznnik via fotolia

What better alternative to turkey than a local French goose? It looks impressive, has loads of crispy skin, and the juicy meat is full of flavour. You will need to order your goose from the butcher or farm as far in advance as possible, specifying that it is for roasting.

This evocative recipe is packed with Christmas flavours, and the aromatic citrus and spices complement the rich meat perfectly.

The Stuffing

Ingredients

• 1 tin of chestnuts, roughly chopped
• 1 orange
• 1 lemon
• 1 large crunchy apple, peeled and cut into small chunks of less than 1cm
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 tsp ground or grated nutmeg
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• The finely chopped heart, gizzards, liver and kidneys of the goose, if you can get them. If not, 100g chopped chicken liver.

What to do:

• Gently fry the onion and apple together until the onion is translucent. If you’re using the giblets, fry these at the same time.
• Mix up the chestnuts and spices, with the juice of 1/2 the lemon, the juice of 1/2 the orange, and the zest from the orange. Add a big pinch of salt and some black pepper.
• Empty your mixture into the hot pan of onion and apple, and stir everything together for a few moments, until the chestnuts start to get a bit mushy. Taste and add more seasoning, spice or juice if necessary.
• Momentarily blend in a food processor, or with a hand blender, so that it stick together more easily, but still has plenty of texture.
• Stuff the goose, season the skin, and roast on a high heat. (Roast potatoes around it, in the fat.)

The Gravy

• 1 bottle of table wine
• Juice of 1 – 2 oranges
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 or 2 chicken livers.

• Gently fry the onion and liver in a pan big enough to accommodate all the ingredients, adding the garlic once the onion is translucent. Fry together for a minute or so.
• Pour in the wine and the juice of one orange, and add the bay leaves. Simmer the gravy until it has reduced by two thirds. It will take quite a while, but you can do this bit in advance. If the wine still tastes too sour, add some water or more orange juice and cook for longer.
• Once the goose is cooked and resting on a warmed dish, pour the fat out of the roasting tin (save it for future roast veg), and put the tin over a hot ring. When it’s sizzling, deglaze with water, and add this rich stock to the rest of the gravy.
• Pour any juices that have come out of the goose into the gravy.
• Season generously and taste. Strain if you like. If you want to thicken the gravy, mix in a couple of mashed up roast potatoes at the end.

Happy Christmas Dining!

•With thanks to Gemma Driver

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