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Recipe: "Herbal Roast Goose" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Recipe: "Herbal Roast Goose"

This was part of our Ostara Feast.  It looked like this:

Herbal Roast Goose

1 whole goose, about 8-9 lbs.
2 small sweet onions
1 bay leaf

For the marinade:
1 cube frozen grated ginger (thawed)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

For the herbal rub:
8 juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon green peppercorns
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon Australian pink salt


For the marinade, combine in a small dish: 1 cube frozen grated ginger (thawed), 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon mace, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.  Set aside briefly.

Unwrap the goose.  Remove giblets, reserving for gravy or stock.  Pull off any big hunks of fat and save those for cooking.  The big flap of skin from the neck can also be cut off and put with the stock fixings.  Use kitchen shears to cut off the first two wing joints and save those for stock.

Rinse the goose inside and out; pat dry.  Prick the skin all over using a knife or fork, so that the fat can escape.

Use a pastry brush to spread the marinade all over the goose.  Wrap the goose in plastic or put it in a big dish, and leave it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Peel and quarter two small sweet onions; set aside briefly.

Take out the goose and rinse it briefly to get the vinegar off; don't obsess over getting every bit of spice off.

In a mortar and pestle, put 8 juniper berries and 1/2 teaspoon green peppercorns.  Grind those.  Then add 1 teaspoon rubbed sage, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon Australian pink salt.  Grind again, then stir to blend thoroughly.  Rub this mixture all over the outside of the goose, and save a little to put inside the body cavity as well.

Stuff the onion quarters and a bay leaf into the body cavity of the goose.  Close the skin flaps over the opening and secure with a toothpick or skewer.  If the skin has a loop for the leg bones, poke the ends through that loop to secure the legs.  Otherwise, tie the leg ends together with cotton cooking string.

Carefully lower the prepared goose onto the roasting rack, in the pan or the roasting oven.  Cook for 30 minutes at 425ºF.

Reduce heat to 350ºF.  Very carefully lift lid of roaster oven, tilting it away from you; or open oven and pull the pan out.  Spoon or suction away the liquid fat in the bottom of the pan, reserving it for another use.  Cover the roaster oven or return the goose to the regular oven.  Cook the goose for a total of 15 minutes per pound (so 2 1/2 hours for 8 lbs).  Remove fat every 30-60 minutes.

When done, skin should be crisp golden brown and juices should run clear.  (It's okay if the meat is still pink in places.)  Temperature in the thickest part of the meat should be 160ºF.  Carefully transfer goose to a serving platter.  Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

To carve the goose, first slice off the wings.  (Lay the wings on the platter and save them for stock; they're really tough.  The onions aren't meant to be eaten, but if they're cooked through and people want them, then you can dig those out.)  Next, slice off the legs and serve those.  Finally, slice the breast meat and serve it.  There will be a few other slivers you can pick off the carcass, if desired.  If you save the carcass and other bones with any loose skin, you can get a second batch of stock from one goose!


Goose is a wonderful luxury food.  It's all dark meat, and in America geese are not factory farmed but are kept as free-range livestock.  The meat is chewier and richer than chicken, though similar to duck or turkey.  There is a great deal of fat on a goose, which is highly valued for cooking potatoes or other foods, so save the fat.  Skin, bones, and other scraps can be used for making stock.  Giblets are good alone, or as gravy, or for stock.

All of the herbs for this recipe are "digestive" herbs.  They aid digestion by helping the body break down fat and protein.  If you have sprigs of fresh herbs, especially the rosemary or thyme, you can stuff a few into the body cavity too.

Frozen grated ginger is an oddity I often have on hand.  Whenever we get fresh ginger root for a recipe, I grate all of it in a spice grinder and measure off the necessary amount.  All the leftover ginger pulp gets packed into an ice cube tray and frozen, then the cubes go in a baggie until I need them.  They're less hot than fresh ginger root, so if you use fresh, you only need maybe a quarter or a half teaspoon.

Fancy salts can add a lot to a recipe.  If you don't have the Australian pink salt, which has a delicate mineral edge, you can use all sea salt.  If you don't have sea salt, plain table salt is okay.

Green peppercorns have a more leafy flavor than black peppercorns, so they blend nicely with herbs.  If you don't have green peppercorns, use black ones.

If you're worried about over-browning the goose, you can cover it with a tent of aluminum foil at the beginning or end of cooking.

Apparently goose makes a racket while cooking.  I was startled and somewhat alarmed when, shortly after placed in the roaster oven, it sounded like popcorn!  Pow-pow-pow!  Then it quieted down.  Later it made little explosions of fat, like small bombs going off.  Bamf!  Whoom!   Kerpow!  Perhaps not a food suitable for nervous people, but it was worth it, and the goose eventually ceased trying to blast its way out of the roaster oven.

This recipe was originally created for an Ostara Feast, early in spring, because ducks, geese, and chickens are associated with that holiday.  Goose is also served at New Year, Midwinter/Christmas, and Michaelmas (Sept. 29).  The side dishes help dress it up for each occasion -- salads and eggs in spring, squash and root vegetables in winter, or apples and stuffing in autumn.

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22 comments or Leave a comment
endlessrarities From: endlessrarities Date: March 21st, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes it's difficult being a vegetarian.

'Herbal Roast Quorn' doesn't quite have the same ring to it:-(
capricorn01984 From: capricorn01984 Date: March 21st, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Quorn is awesome. I actually nave no troubles being vegetarian on holidays, the meated stuff just doesn't have any appeal for me.

We actually have great success cooking the vegetarian roasts and like to experiment with different bastes and flavorings.

For our Ostara meal, it wasn't a feast of epic proportions, however, we did go with the egg theme and made egg salad sandwiches on really good toasted artisan rye bread!

Hope both of you (Endlessrarities and Elizabeth) had fantastic celebrations! I saw your lovely eggs Elizabeth!

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 21st, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)


Although I'm an obligate omnivore myself, I like some vegetarian food. I have found that the best vegetarian food is designed that way from the beginning, rather than an attempt to mimic meat dishes. My partner's specialty is East Indian feast food; within that category lie many stupendous dishes.
endlessrarities From: endlessrarities Date: March 21st, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

That sounds like a mighty fine speciality! I like a good dhal...

I went to a wonderful Bangladeshi restaurant in Wells which had almost a fusion approach to their cooking. They did a fantastic veggie banquet, which combined Mexican and Indian ideas (it worked, strangely enough!!).

I quite like eating surrogate meat dishes at home - Minced quorn works fine in Moussaka and Bolognese, and Quorn Roast With Veg, Roast Potatoes, Gravy & all the trimmings works fine as far as I'm concerned. I've sort of weaned myself off meat.

But I quite agree. Vegetarian cookery, when done properly, simply doesn't need meat!!

The Christmas turkey was the last thing to go - I spent a few years trying to convince myself that it was the midwinter sacrifice which would bring back the sun, but... I managed to talk myself out of it.

I don't miss it at all now, though it took years to stop drooling over chicken, steak, and bacon sandwiches. Please note, though: when my husband and I eat out, eight times out of ten he opts for the carnivore option!!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 21st, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

>>That sounds like a mighty fine speciality! I like a good dhal... <<

Indeed, his lentil dhal is one of my favorite dishes, although I take my portion before the final addition of hot spices sauteed in ghee.

Favorite cookbooks include The Vegetarian Epicure and Moghul Microwave.

>>I don't miss it at all now, though it took years to stop drooling over chicken, steak, and bacon sandwiches. Please note, though: when my husband and I eat out, eight times out of ten he opts for the carnivore option!!<<

Well, people's bodies are different. Mine happens to insist on meat, but I have friends who just can't digest it. There are many different reasons for dietary choices, and each person has to figure out what works for them.

I actually eat less meat than typical in America, usually once a day, occasionally twice. Often the meat is little bits mixed in with something else. When I'm feeding several people, then I'm more likely to set out a big hunk of meat and some side dishes. Leftovers may be used for lunches or remade into other supper dishes.
capricorn01984 From: capricorn01984 Date: March 21st, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Being devotees of Hindu deities with our IndoPagan slant, we do love our Indian food!

Palak Paneer, Aloo Mutter, korma sauce, samosas...........oh goodness the joys and delights!

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 21st, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Among my favorite Indian foods are naan bread with almond paste and cantaloupe seeds (which we had once at a restaurant), walnut chicken, roghan josh (family nickname: "Demon-Banishing Lamb"), and plain pilau (which is not plain, but a mix of rice, peas, and slivered almonds). Favorite desserts include rice pudding, gulab jamun, and mango ice cream.
capricorn01984 From: capricorn01984 Date: March 21st, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Paneer Jalfrezzi is quite nice as well. The paneer is in a spicey curry sauce based in bell peppers. Quite enjoyable.

Chutney's add a whole new fun aspect to a lot of Indian foods, especially breads and samosas. The right chutney can kick it up several notches. We generally have mint, tomato, and mango in the house at any given time.
msstacy13 From: msstacy13 Date: March 21st, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been trying to think of a way to set up the punch line
"your goose is cooked"
but I'm not coming up with anything...

anyway, for me,
it's the cruelty by which animals become meat that I object to...
My first vegetarian thanksgiving, I didn't want to be rude,
so I ate some turkey,
but it was like concrete going through me,
so I've been able to resist, however good something smells...

my first vegetarian lent,
I asked my confessor if I should refrain from eating rice on fridays...
he said since I never eat meat, I don't have to worry about that...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)


I am concerned about how food animals are raised, because you are what you eat. Flesh, milk, eggs, etc. from miserable drugged-up animals is unlikely to be tasty or wholesome. When we can afford to, we shop accordingly. We are very fond of an Amish meat market for beef and pork. A friend currently supplies us with home-raised eggs. Sometimes we can get real half-and-half produced by Jersey cows at a small dairy. Happily, geese and ducks are not factory farmed in America, but are free-range. They also can't be fed medicated feed routinely, only if they get sick, and then there is a waiting period before they may be slaughtered.
msstacy13 From: msstacy13 Date: March 22nd, 2010 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Very good!

I do still eat eggs,
but I buy the free-range vegetarian-fed kind...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very good!

I like the idea of the Chicken Tractor, a low movable poultry pen that can gives the birds access to fresh territory every 10-14 days. They eat all the weeds, eat all the bugs, till the soil, and fertilize it. You drag the thing forward, they do it again ... and you go behind and plant your seeds.

Around here, people often let their chickens run loose in the yard, and I love seeing them as we drive by. But then it's hard to keep them from eating your flower or vegetable shoots and away from places you don't want fertilized.
msstacy13 From: msstacy13 Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very good!

hey, that IS a good idea...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very good!

Many homestead magazines and books offer plans for building them, ranging from very simple to quite elaborate. There's even a website:
From: jazzyss2002 Date: March 21st, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for sharing the recipe of Herbal Roast Goose. Will try it today and hope it tastes well. Chris http://www.ihampers.co.uk/c-380-christmas-hampers.aspx
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)


If you do try this, I would welcome feedback. I'm trying to gauge how much of what I do is replicable.
cissa From: cissa Date: March 22nd, 2010 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Cooking goose initially at 450F or so will really trash your oven. It'll spray fat all over it. It also starts to scorch the fat. The goose tastes great, granted- but I don't like the rest of the effects.

I prefer to cook for most of the time at 325F, and only raise the temp after the fat has rendered (and been removed), to brown/crisp the skin right at the end.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I've added this to the recipe and may try it later.

I was cooking this goose in a roaster oven with a removable pan, so hopefully cleanup will be reasonable. It didn't seem to harm the fat; there was plenty of that to take out.
red_trillium From: red_trillium Date: March 22nd, 2010 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Yummmmm, that looks very tasty.

And I was amused at your description of the sound of your goose cooking (pun intended). :D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2010 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)


Next time I may try cooking at lower temperature first, then raising it to brown the skin. The noises were very disconcerting and I would prefer to avoid them.

Also, I love your icon.
rachelpage From: rachelpage Date: April 16th, 2015 08:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for these great recipe. I love this.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 16th, 2015 09:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.
22 comments or Leave a comment