Christmas goose is a tradition in many parts of Europe, especially Germany, where I had it for the first time many years ago. It doesn’t need to be a holiday celebration to enjoy this delicious Jacques Pépin recipe. Serves at least 6 and up to 8 people.
- 1 10- to 12-pound goose neck and giblets reserved; visible fat removed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 ¼ C warm water
- 1 ½ T honey
- 1 T Tabasco
- 1 t corn starch dissolved in 2 T red or white wine
Beginning at the neck end, work your fingers under the goose skin, snipping any fibers and sinews with kitchen scissors; work your fingers as far down over the thighs as possible. Using a sharp knife, cut halfway through the wing and leg joints to help the bird cook evenly. Generously season the goose inside and out with salt and pepper.
Set the goose on a rack in a heavy roasting pan, breast side up. Add the neck, gizzard, heart, and 4 cups of water to the pan. Cover the goose with foil and seal the foil all around the edge of the pan. Bring the water to a boil with the rack over a burner set on high. Reduce the heat to low and steam for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer the rack with the goose to a rimmed baking sheet, strain the pan juices and refrigerate uncovered overnight, until the skin is very dry, like parchment.
To roast, remove goose from the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature before roasting. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, mix the honey with Tabasco and the remaining ¼ cup of water. Return the rack to the pan and roast the goose for 1 hour, basting occasionally with the Tabasco mixture. Carefully turn the goose breast side down. Roast for about 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally. The goose is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 170°. Turn off the oven and let it cool to 160°. Transfer the goose to a heatproof platter, breast side up. Return the goose to the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Pour off the fat in the roasting pan. Scrape the solidified fat off the refrigerated pan juices and refrigerate for another use. Add the juices to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Pour the juices into a small saucepan. Stir in the corn starch slurry and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season the jus with salt and pepper and strain it into a gravy boat. Carve the goose and pass the jus at the table.