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ROAST GOOSE & APPLE SAUCE

Serves 6-8

goose 4.5-5kg

floury, white fleshed potatoes 1.3kg

banana shallots 400g

olive oil 3 tbsp

lemon 1

rosemary 3 stems

thyme 10 sprigs

For the apple sauce

large cooking apples such as Bramleys 3

lemons 2

cinnamon stick 1

cloves 4

Remove the goose from its wrapping and place in a large, deep roasting tin. Set the oven at 220C/gas mark 7. Peel the potatoes and quarter them, then cook them in boiling, lightly salted water for about 10 minutes, until they have just started to soften.

Peel and halve the shallots, remove the roots, then unfurl the layers. Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan over a moderate heat, add the shallots and let them cook until soft and golden.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the dry saucepan, pressing down on them lightly with a potato masher or fork to slightly crush them. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon, then cover with a lid and let the potatoes infuse with the lemon juice. Reserve the empty lemon shells.

 Sweet, rich goose flesh responds to a little sourness. I toss lemon shells into the roasting tin

Pull the needles from the rosemary and roughly chop them, then chop the thyme leaves. Add the herbs to the potatoes, fold in the cooked shallots, then season with salt and black pepper. Stuff the crushed potatoes into the goose. A few may fall out into the tin – no matter. Season the skin of the goose with salt, add the lemon shells to the tin and place in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180C/gas mark 4 and leave to roast for two hours. Watch the progress carefully, covering the skin with foil if it appears to be browning too quickly. When it is ready, the skin should be a deep walnut brown. (If the goose produces vast amounts of fat, and well it might, remove some carefully with a turkey baster or small ladle.)

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While the goose roasts, make the apple sauce. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Put them into a heavy-based saucepan. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the pan together with the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and leave to simmer until the apples are soft. Remove and discard the cloves and cinnamon stick, then crush the apple sauce finely with a fork or a potato masher.

Lift the goose from the tin, place it on a warm serving platter and cover with foil. This resting is important. Carefully ladle out most of the fat into a bowl or jar, let it cool, then store in the fridge. Carve as below.

Place the goose on a chopping or carving board with a little foil underneath to catch any juices. Using a long, sharp carving knife, make an incision as close as possible to the breastbone, at the open end of the goose. Slide the knife along the length of the bird, keeping as close to the breastbone as you can. Prise the meat away from the bone and slice downwards, the blade of your knife tight to the ribcage, removing the breast in one large, long piece. Now repeat with the other breast.

Move the carcass on to a serving dish, then cut the breast into short, thick slices, putting them on a warm serving dish.

Cut slices from the legs, removing as much meat as you can, and serve.

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