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Video: Christmas goose with all the fixin's

updated 12/22/2004 11:35:56 AM ET 2004-12-22T16:35:56

Goose, with its distinct flavor, has long been a European Christmas favorite. Chef John Greeley of New York's “21” Club, a former speakeasy during prohibition times, was invited on “Today” to share his favorite recipes for this main dish and some tasty accompaniments.

‘21’ Club Holiday Roast Goose
Serves 4 to 6

1 fresh whole goose (13 to 15 pounds)
Butchers’ twine
Kosher salt
3 ounces goose rub (1 ounce each of ground fennel seed, ground coriander seed and ground white pepper mixed together)
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 dinner fork (to poke holes in skin of goose)
1 onion (peeled, cut into large dice)
1 carrot (peeled, cut into thick slices)
1 rib celery (washed, cut into large slices)
1 leek (white part only, washed and cut into thick slices)
1 bay leaf
2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (use an oven thermometer if you don’t trust your oven’s temperature). Tie the legs of the goose together and cut the tips of the wings off. You can save the wing tips with the neck bone and make a quick goose stock, if needed. Next, using the fork, gently poke holes in the skin of the goose without going through the skin into the meat. Do this all over the bird (this will allow the fat to render off during the roasting process). Stuff the cavity of the bird with the fresh thyme and rosemary, and season it generously with salt. Finally sprinkle the entire goose with the goose rub, then transfer the goose to a roasting pan with water, onion, leek, celery, carrot, and bay leaf.
It's important to make sure your roasting pan is deep and strong enough to accommodate the goose. Do not use aluminum foil roasting pans because 3 cups of goose fat will render from the bird and, if spilled onto a hot surface, could ignite.
Place the goose into the oven for one hour. Then, without opening the oven, turn it off and let goose sit for one hour. Remove from oven and cut breast meat off the bird, then slice the breast meat very thin. Next, remove the thighs and legs, and serve with huckleberry sauce (see recipe below).
Tip: Save the rendered fat from the roasting pan and use it to roast potatoes or vegetables in place of cooking oil, a very flavorful option.

‘21’ Club Breadless Stuffing
Serves 6

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup bacon (diced)
1 cup Spanish onion (peeled, diced)
1/4 cup celery (washed, diced)
1/2 cup leek (white part only, washed and diced)
1 cup sweet potato (peeled, diced)
1 cup butternut squash (seeds removed, diced)
1 cup delicata* squash (seeds removed, diced)
1/2 cup kabocha squash purée** (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons fresh sage (stem removed, chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (washed, dried, stem removed, chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh chives (sliced thin)
6 ounces chicken or turkey stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 fresh sage leaf to garnish
Salt and white pepper to taste

In a large frying pan on a stovetop set to medium heat add oil and bacon and cook until bacon is crispy without burning it (if pan starts to smoke, lower heat for this stage). Next, push the cooked bacon to the sides of the pan, do not drain off the oil and fat. Add the sweet potato, butternut squash and delicata squash to the pan and cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the squash caramelizes (takes on a light golden color). Now add the butter, onion, leek and celery, and cook 5 minutes until the onions look translucent and become fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes until the stock reduces by half and the squash is tender. Check the squash by sticking a fork in one piece — you want it to be just cooked through so it holds its shape, and not mushy. Finally, add the kabocha squash purée, chopped sage, parsley and chive; stir until fully incorporated and re-season with salt and pepper. Keep warm or serve immediately.
* Delicata squash has a green striped exterior and a fleshy, orange inside. You can substitute it with other local squash in your area, like carnival, acorn or pumpkin.
** You can substitute kabocha squash purée with canned pumpkin purée or sweet potato purée.

Kabocha Squash Purée
1 whole kabocha squash (a jade green squash with orange flesh)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
White pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and dry the whole squash, rub olive oil all over the squash and season with salt and pepper.  Place squash on a sheet pan or ovenproof rack and roast for 1 hour or until tender (you can check this by sticking a small knife into the side of the squash; it should slide in with little resistance.) When tender remove from oven and let fully cool (this could take an hour or so.) Cut the top off the squash and scoop out the seeds. Now scoop out the remaining flesh and purée in a food processor with 2 tablespoons butter, season with salt and white pepper, keep cool. Reserve the shell of the squash to serve the stuffing in. If you do not have a food processor, use a fork or a potato masher to make the purée.

‘21’ Club Huckleberry Sauce
Serves 6

6 ounces honey
3 ounces balsamic vinegar
6 ounces chicken stock (or goose stock)
12 ounces fresh huckleberries (can substitute cranberries or blueberries)
1 tablespoon orange zest (or grated orange peel)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (peeled, grated fine)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (leaves only, chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram (leaves only, chopped)

In 2-quart sauce pot, combine honey, balsamic vinegar, goose stock and huckleberries. Bring to a boil and reduce by one half (or until the bubbles become really small and sauce coats the back of a spoon). Turn off heat, then add ginger and herbs; stir. Serve with sliced roast goose, or other game meats like venison or duck.

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