Goose is a winged bird which is bred mainly on the continent, where it is most often served for Christmas dinner. Geese are usually fattened and can reach up to 26 pounds in weight. A ‘green goose’ is a bird up to 3 months old and a gosling, up to 6 months. The meat of a young goose is very delicate and tender, whereas older geese tend to be tough. It is best to choose a goose which is not more than one year old, and which has yellow feet. There is not much meat on a goose, so allow an 8 pound goose for 4 people, and a 10 pound goose for 6 people.

Geese are usually roasted, but most methods of cooking turkey can be applied to goose. The basic method of roasting a goose is to prick it all over with a fork and rub it with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The goose is placed on its breast on a rack in a roasting tin and put in an oven which has been preheated to very hot 450°F (Gas Mark 8, 230°C). After 15 minutes, the heat-is lowered to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). Allow 20 to 25 minutes roasting time to the pound. Do not baste the goose, as it has a lot of fat.

Remove the fat from the roasting tin frequently. When the goose is half cooked, turn it over on to its back.

To test if the goose is cooked, prick the thigh with the point of a sharp knife. The juices that run out should be clear.

Roast goose is usually stuffed with fruit, for example apples, prunes and apricots, with bread or with a forcemeat stuffing. In Britain, the traditional stuffing is sage and onion.

Geese are also bred and fattened exclusively for their livers, notably in France. The geese are fattened on a special diet, to such an extent that they can barely move. The livers become extremely heavy and rich and are made into PATE DE