The Good Life > Trends > Traditional Christmas Dinner with a Roast Goose

Reviving the Traditional Christmas Dinner with a Roast Goose

Reviving the Traditional Christmas Goose Dinner
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We've all read Christmas stories that mention eating goose for Christmas dinner; it's a common theme in tales and Christmas movies. For most of us, our first introduction to the concept of a Christmas goose came from the famous Dickens story "A Christmas Carol," in which a roast goose was the centerpiece of the Cratchit family dinner. But why? What's special about goose that made it popular at Christmas? Do people still eat goose at Christmas? Could you?

Five Reasons to Cook a Goose for Christmas Dinner:

  1. Goose meat tastes richer than turkey and is much more flavorful than chicken, the more commonly found cousins of this bird.
  2. The meat is said to offer better pairings with wine, which lends itself well to a holiday celebration.
  3. They are known for their dark meat and the quality of their fat. Geese fat cooks at a lower temperature than turkey, which makes goose both easier to cook and easier to eat.
  4. As a result of the heavy fat content and the lower cooking temperature of that fat, goose meat tends to be so moist that it does not require sauce or gravy, unlike turkey or chicken.
  5. In addition, the cooking process for any animal typically toughens the meat, so if the dish calls for succulent and moist meat, a younger animal will be chosen. Geese grow into maturity at eight to nine months and are typically born in the spring. Therefore, if a goose is born on April 15th, it will reach its ideal maturity by mid-December, resulting in a bird that is at its prime for harvest and consumption at Christmas time.

All of these factors lead to an ideal treat for a special holiday meal.

How to Cook a Goose

Cook a Christmas Goose

Goose meat combines well with fruits coming into season in the fall and early winter such as – apples, pears, plums, and figs – all of which make great side dish additions or simply mixed into a stuffing. These colorful treats add to the visual festivity of this meal as well as serving as a delicious addition to the main course. The typical preparation for goose is roasted, like turkey, however the higher fat content and lower cooking temperature actually make this bird easier to prepare; the meat naturally holds more moisture and flavor, so basting is not as much of a concern. Goose is also best prepared at a lower cook point than chicken or turkey--the meat should be prepared to more of a medium or medium rare, as opposed to the full cooking that chicken and turkey require to preventing sickness.

The typical goose recipe calls for the bird to be roasted in a dish in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes per pound. Recipes vary, along with suggested stuffing's and seasonings. Your best bet is to search through your favorite cookbooks or recipe websites and find a recipe that matches your intended celebration, tastes, and nutritional requirements. Don't be intimidated by this new bird--if you can cook a turkey or chicken, you can cook a goose! Try this Delicious Roast Goose Recipe.

The Christmas Goose Rising in Popularity

Because it is simple to prepare, has great flavor, and it is steeped in tradition, geese are becoming more popular in the United States. A quick survey of popular internet cooking forums and websites will reveal that more and more Americans have made this old treat new again, much to our benefit since recipes and availability have increased with popularity.

If you do not see goose offered at your local grocery store, consider speaking with the butcher to discuss availability, visiting a local farmer or high-end grocery store that caters to more select tastes. Remember that because of their breeding season and speed of maturity, geese are not typically available for consumption until early winter, so don’t despair if you can’t find one in August because they are not ready. Return in December and you will find your holiday bird.

The Christmas Goose tradition of yesteryear is undergoing something of a revival in the United States. Its richness and complexity of its dark meat, the ease of preparation, and the uniqueness of this bird make it an attractive option. Are you ready to try something new and different? Perhaps this year is the year you break your tradition by trying goose for Christmas and reconnecting with what you saw in A Christmas Carol – a delicious, roast goose on Christmas Day.

Find Your Local Source for Fresh Goose
Delicious Roast Goose Recipe

Laura Holt, for Agrilicious!

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Silverpalm33, Washington DC
Goose tastes really good if cooked right, but it is most certainly not easier to cook that Turkey. It must be cooked slowly and basted often, and even then one has to really be careful to do it just right. But when you do...voila.
8/9/2017 2:57:00 PM
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Maddog, Coldspring TX
Just got two geese, and can't wait for Christmas
8/17/2015 9:23:00 PM
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Please visit Reeves Ranch Farms for your next year Christmas Goose! Facebook. Com/reevesranchfarms Contact us in April 2015 so we can co-op and raise your goose for you! Merry Christmas! ~RR farms 951.756.3514
12/21/2014 9:36:00 PM
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