5 years ago my daughter asked me to drive 18 hours from Washington to Los Angeles to prepare a Christmas Eve feast for her future in-laws. Yes, it used to be 18 hours door to door, but if you hit black ice coming along the rez road, a blizzard in Mount Shasta, a fog bank in Corning, severe flooding in Sacramento, and a heat wave coming through the Grapevine, it can take up to 32 hours on the road. All this time with a dead goose in the back of the car.
Let me rephrase that, I asked my daughter to order a goose ahead of time so we'd have it in plenty of time for me to defrost and cook it. She rang back the next day saying she had no idea a goose was so expensive. The market wanted $120.00 for one uncooked goose! I thought for sure it must be the Golden Goose. So I drove over to Smokey Point, in Washington, to our local Hagen's Gourmet Market and found they had them for only $40.00. I ordered one and the morning we set off from Arlington, I popped it into a cooler full of ice to begin "The Journey"... First to the Colville Reservation to drop my 89 year old cousin Stella home. Generally a 5 hour trip. We hit a snow storm over Steven's Pass and black ice all the way from Wenatchee to Nespelem. The snow was pelting us from every direction. From the sky, from the right, the left, from straight ahead, it was even blowing up from under the car and sideways. I had never driven in snow before. It was terrifying. And all this time I have this dead goose in the back of the Land Cruiser.
After droping Stella at her HUD housing tract, and a 1 hour nap, I got back on the long road home. I wanted to drive down through Pendalton, Oregon, but somehow when I got off the freeway to get gasoline, someone persuaded me to get onto the I-5 which meant I wound up driving all the way back to Seattle. Sometime after midnight in Shasta County, CA, a Highway Patrol officer allowed me to continue up the mountain, when other cars without chains or 4-Wheel drive were being pulled over. I didn't even know how to set the 4-wheel drive, she had to do it for me.
I started up the mountain with one headlight out and discovered cars were pulling over to let me pass so they could follow my lead. Terrible idea! Finally, I pulled over onto what I hoped was the shoulder of the road and spent the night wrapped in Navajo (Diné) rugs and fur coats, in the middle of a blizzard, on Mount Shasta. Later that morning, I passed another few hours trapped in dense fog in Corning, California with an almost empty gas tank.
At around 9AM, in our state capitol, I expected to see Arnold Schwarzenegger floating by in the Ark. Not only had I hit Sacramento during rush hour, I was also in the middle of one of the worst floods that fair city had ever known.
I somehow finally made it to the Grapevine, where it was bumper to bumper traffic because California was having a heat wave in December and all the over heated Mercedes Benz cars were blocking the road. And here I was with a dead goose in the back of the car! 32 hours after I left the rez, I finally "limped" into my driveway. But that goose was still rock hard.
The next day I went to our local Ralph's market to get some cranberries for Cranberry Sorbet, turnips and peas for the mash, and discovered Ralph's Market had geese for only $40.00. Apparently my little angel had gone to the most expensive gourmet market on the planet. Bristol Farms!
Here then without any further ado, is my recipe for a most wondrous Welsh Christmas goose:
1 12-15 pound goose
4-5 cups wild rice cooked in vegetable broth
3/4 cup hazelnuts coarsely chopped
2 Granny Smith or Pippin apples peeled, cored, and cut into cubes
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 teaspoons dried savory
4 tablespoons chopped curly parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Wash the goose under cold water. Remove the neck, heart, liver and gizzard
and place them in a saucepan with 4 cups vegetable broth. Let simmer gently
for several hours in a partially covered pan. Reduce to 2 cups. Season the
broth to taste with the salt.
Meanwhile, mix together the cooked wild rice, hazelnuts, apples, onion,
savory and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity and
neck cavity of the goose with the stuffing mix. Skewer closed, and lace string
around skewers, then truss the bird. Roast in a preheated 325º oven, breast
down for 1 3/4 hours, basting frequently and drawing off the fat as it
accumulates, then turn and roast for approximately 1 3/4 hours. Slightly more for a
14-15 pound goose. When done the juices should run clear when the thigh is
pricked where it attaches to the body.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat, then sprinkle a little flour over
the bottom of the roasting pan. Use more for thicker gravy. Put the pan over
a low flame and stir for 2 minutes mixing all the pan scrapings. Add the
broth from the neck and gizzard and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt
Remove the skewers and string before carving.
Be very careful not to start an oven fire when cooking goose. Keep draining
the fat off as soon as it accumulates. Fat may be frozen for later use.
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