Unlike lean, white turkey breast, goose meat is quite dark and flavourful, possessing a beautiful hint of gaminess. Goose legs and thighs are even darker and more flavoursome than the breast. In the Victorian and Edwardian eras, geese were such an aspirational Christmas centrepiece that 'Goose Clubs' were formed, in which low-income families could tuck away money for the annual roast.
In the 1950s, the traditional Christmas goose was usurped by the American turkey. But geese – which are native to Europe – are making a comeback, partly thanks to the increased interest in indigenous ingredients and partly thanks to geese's association with a sense of luxury and occasion. Luckily, they're a slightly more affordable luxury now, ensuring that goose doesn't have to be a once-a-year-bird if you don’t want it to be.
4.5kg – 1.5–2 hours
5kg – 2–2.5 hours
5.5kg – 2.5–3 hours
6kg – 3–3.5 hours
Different flavours can be introduced by stuffing the cavity of the goose or massaging aromatics into the skin. For example, Martin Wishart stuffs the goose in his recipe with a wonderfully festive chestnut and pear stuffing but you can adapt the stuffing flavours to your own tastes.
Other Christmas flavours go well with goose – Adam Byatt serves roast crown of goose with cranberries and celeriac while Marcus Wareing pairs his goose breast with a sausage roll made with the leg meat, kale and cranberry relish.
Because goose has a stronger, gamier flavour, it can cope with bolder accompaniments than turkey or chicken. Five spice and limes make a bold rub or ground cumin and lemon zest mixed with honey to help the rub stick to the skin.