By Robert Smyth
Alan Lake’s note: This dish was reproduced by Robert later in his life; the goose, stuffing, and gravy are inspired by Julia Child, but he gave it his own spin.
PART ONE: Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing
1/2 cup of very finely-minced shallots
2 T. butter
1/2 cup real madeira (not sh*tty cooking madeira – Alan’s note: Robert’s wife, Manuela, is Portuguese, which I’m pretty certain is the reason for this comment)
3/4 lb. lean veal
3/4 lb. filet mignon
1/2 lb. pork fat
2 lightly-beaten eggs
1 1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. fresh-ground black pepper
1 large pinch of allspice
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme
1 clove of garlic, chopped and smashed with the side of a knife
1 1/2 lbs. drained, peeled, French unsweetened chestnuts
1 liver from the goose
1. Finely ground veal, filet and pork fat together.
2. Sweat shallots in butter, using a skillet on low heat, until translucent.
3. Add the madeira, reduce by half and scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the eggs, salt, pepper, allspice, thyme and garlic, and mix well until the mixture is light and smooth.
5. Sauté a small amount and taste. Add whatever else you feel it needs to suit your palate. Adjust seasoning as needed (I add cayenne pepper and more salt). Reserve.
6. Take the liver from your goose, chop it fine, and sauté it in butter. The mix of pork fat, veal, and beef becomes your sausage.
7. Add the goose liver and the chestnuts to four cups of the stuffing, and mix thoroughly.
PART TWO: Cooking the goose
1. Clean the cavity of the goose, reserving the giblets and neck for the sauce, and the liver for the stuffing. (Please note, this can be done the day before if you wish to make the sauce in advance; see Part Three for instructions).
2. Season the goose cavity with salt.
3. Starting with the meat stuffing, loosely pack alternate layers of stuffing and chestnuts into the goose. Leave about an inch gap at the rear of the goose.
4. Sew the openings up at both ends. Truss the legs and wings of the goose securely.
5. Prick the skin of the goose all over so that its fat can exit during cooking.
6. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Set one tray close to the bottom of the oven. Leave enough room on the top for a similar-sized dish, which will hold the roasted potatoes (see Part Four).
7. Dry the goose thoroughly and place it breast up in the tray.
8. Have a basting bulb and a serving spoon handy. Make sure to also boil a pot of water on the stove top.
9. Cook the goose in the oven for 15 minutes at 450°.
10. Turn the oven down to 350°. Turn the goose onto its side. If it tends to topple over, jam a wooden spoon underneath the goose to hold it firm.
11. Total cooking time will be about three hours and 15 minutes, plus or minus 15 minutes.
11. Every 15 minutes during cooking, drain the fat from the tray and save it for another use. Note: You may get up to two quarts of fat during cooking.
12. Baste the top of the goose with 3 T. of the boiling water.
13. After 45 minutes, turn the tray 180 degrees to take account of any oven temperature variations.
14. After 1 1/2 hours, turn the goose onto its other side.
15. At 2 hours 15 minutes, rotate the tray 180 degrees again. Also, you should start the water for the roasted potatoes now.
16. At three hours of cook time, start testing the temperature of the goose. It is ready when the goose registers at 180°. Do not overcook; the goose will dry out.
17. Let goose rest for 15 minutes before carving.
PART THREE: Sauce for the Goose
1 1/2 cup of sliced shallots
1/2 cup sliced carrots
4 T. pork fat
6 T. flour
4 cups beef stock, boiling
2 cups dry white vermouth
salt and pepper to taste
reserved goose parts (giblets and neck), except the liver
1. The sauce can easily be prepared the day before. This is recommended for ease.
2. Chop up the goose parts into small pieces, not bigger than an inch.
3. In a skillet, brown the goose parts in the fat.
4. Stir in the flour and brown slowly for five minutes.
5. Take your mixture off the heat. Blend in the beef stock and the vermouth. Simmer for three hours.
6. Strain sauce through fine strainer.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.
8. If you make the sauce the day before, warm it up prior to serving, and drizzle the sauce over the goose and potatoes at the table.
PART FOUR: The Family Smyth’s Roasted Potatoes
1. Fill a 3- or 4-quart saucepan about halfway with water. Put on maximum heat to boil and add 2 t. salt.
2. Preheat oven at 400° F.
3. Peel potatoes. Cut tips off. Cut potatoes into slices about 7/8-inch wide so they are all of a uniform thickness.
4. Put olive oil and butter into a 10”x14”x2” glass (not metal) baking dish.
5. Peel the onion and cut into four slices. Place one slice in each corner of the baking dish.
6. When water is boiling, put potatoes into the pot. Meanwhile, put the baking dish in the oven to melt the butter. Do not let it burn.
7. Let potatoes boil for 10 minutes. Then, quickly drain them in a colander.
8. Take the baking dish out of the oven. Place potatoes with the flat side down into the dish.
9. Immediately turn them over so they are buttered on top. Spoon butter over each side to ensure they are well-coated.
10. Sprinkle salt and pepper on potatoes and cook in oven for 25 minutes.
11. Once 25 minutes have passed, turn the potatoes over, spoon melted butter over the potatoes again, and add more salt and pepper.
12. Put the dish back in. I recommend rotating it 180 degrees to account for uneven temperatures inside the oven. Bake for another 25 minutes. They are ready to serve when they are crispy, but not burnt.
13. This dish serves four.
To return to the main article, click here.