I’d never cooked a goose before, but figured it would be a lot like cooking a duck – it is, but with a couple of caveats:
Duck is fatty enough – and the fat is well distributed enough – that it’s pretty hard to dry it out. Goose probably produces more fat when you cook it (in sheer fat volume, anyway. It sloughed off 2 cups in the first couple hours.), but once all that fat renders from under the breast skin, the breast meat will start to dry out a bit.
The fat is largely concentrated in a few key spots – near the breast bone and in the thighs – unlike duck which always at least seems like it’s evenly distributed.
Like duck, goose is all dark meat.
I used a combination of German recipes on this guy – suggestions from Rumpolt, and also Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin, 1553. The goose itself I dressed up as Rumpolt suggests (number 3, above) with lemon and juniper berries. The stuffing was a combination of suggestions and common usages, and contained:
Apples, pears, prunes, the goose’s giblets, galingale (similar to ginger – now often referred to as “Thai ginger”), bacon, salt and pepper.
The stuffing was a qualified success – while it wasn’t terrific by itself, eaten with the goose it imparted a nice fruitiness. The juniper on the goose, intended to cut the gaminess of the meat, may or may not have done so. It’s supposed to be used in moderation, but I may have over-moderated.
The goose flesh was slightly dry at the breast, but perfect elsewhere – much like how turkey usually turns out. If I’d slipped a piece of salt pork under the skin at the breast, it probably would have done the trick – or just laid a couple slices of bacon over the top. It seemed SO fatty that I didn’t think of this though. Generally, goose cooks a little funny – unlike a duck or even a turkey, the skin stretches taut like vellum on an old book as it cooks. In the end, it’s stretched like a drum over some of the areas emptied of fat, and hard to remove over much of the rest of the bird. The wings, since this is a bird fully capable of flight, crisp up and what little meat was there seems to disappear. It seems likely that you’d be better served cooking a goose on a spit than in the oven – it’s much easier to control the cooking on a spit, and goose seems like it would do well with this added attention.
Overall – 3 stars. The goose was quite good – gamey enough to be interesting, but not challenging or off-putting. Not quite as good as a duck, but a good looking and good eating bird, nonetheless. As with duck, some of my favorite goose moments came in the succeeding days when I made pressed goose sandwiches on white bread with quince (which was supposed to be in the stuffing but is out of season) jelly.