Roasted Goose and the Virtues of Goose Fat

Goose fat is silky and sensational. Fabulously rich and velvety. So yes, yes, yes, I know it isn’t the best thing for anyone’s cholesterol, but when I use it for matzo balls for Passover dinner next April, no one will complain. Goose fat is colorless and virtually tasteless, so it’s first choice over heavier, more earthy tasting chicken fat or vegetable oil. Perfect for matzo balls.

It isn’t anywhere near Passover so you might be wondering why I’m even bringing this up now, at the last of Hanukkah.

It’s because roast goose is an old family tradition for Hanukkah. Not my family, exactly, or should I say the family I grew up in. My mother, who was a terrific cook, never made a goose in her entire 84 year life.

I started the roast goose on Hanukkah tradition after I read that it is a tradition for other people.

I have to confess, I didn’t make a goose this holiday and am not going to make one tonight. What with latkes and doughnuts and the earliness of the holiday and the closeness to Thanksgiving, I just couldn’t get it together. I’ll make one next time the family gets together and call it a holiday.

My husband and kids love goose (I even love gnawing the tough wing bones). And besides tasting so wonderful there is a goose’s one enduring benefit: the fat.

There’s so much fat in a goose! To save it, strain the pan juices from the roasting pan and strain them through cheesecloth. Refrigerate the liquid (I use small plastic Snapware containers) and you’ll see that as the fat gets cold it becomes snow white. Pure and luxurious.

You almost feel virtuous using saturated fat because you’re not wasting.

And by the way, goose fat is also sensational for oven roasted potatoes!! (Cook some “new” potatoes, peel them, brush with goose fat and sprinkle with kosher salt or sea salt. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until browned and crispy).

And several other yummy dishes.

Roasted Goose

1 9-10 pound goose

gin, vodka or lemon juice

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 apples, cut in half

one peeled onion, cut in half

1-1/2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the goose and remove excess fat. Rub the goose with gin, vodka or lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the apples and onion inside the cavity. Tie the legs together. Prick the skin all over with the tines of a fork. Place the goose, breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour several the water into the pan. Roast for 45 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 325 degrees. Turn the goose breast side down. Roast for 45 minutes. Turn the goose breast side up again and roast for another 30-60 minutes or until the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the thigh with the tines of a fork (a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read 165 degrees). Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.