Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat

Long before turkey became popular, most Irish farmyards were home to a goose, reared specially for the feast of the big day. Goose is a truly celebratory bird.  Some Irish families still make it the first choice at Christmas.  Eugene and Helena Hickey of Skeaghanore Duck in Ballydehob, West Cork, are dab hands at rearing wonderful free range geese. Their birds roam pastures rolling down to the Atlantic Ocean, nibbling on grass and herbs as well as a healthy grain diet,  free from any added anything. Natural and wholesome nurturing like the farmyard geese of old. No wonder they taste so good!  Nationwide delivery is available or check the website for stockists in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford.  Goose has rich dark meat and delectable crisp skin when roasted.  Not to mention the goose fat it yields during cooking, which can last in the fridge till well into the New Year and makes superb roast potatoes. A 5kg bird will serve 8.  Helena always stuffs the Hickey Christmas goose with a traditional potato and apple stuffing. See our recipe link below. Goose needs to be cooked for 20 minutes per 450g plus a further 20 minutes – or until the juices run clear when the thick part of the thigh is pierced. Always prick the skin all over before roasting to allow the fat to run. Stand the bird on a trivet in the roasting tray. Start the cooking in a hot oven for the first ten minutes then lower heat to Gas 4 350F 180C for remaining cooking time. Pour off the fat regularly during roasting.  Traditional Potato and Apple Stuffing for Goose Makes enough to stuff a 4.5kg bird 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped generous knob of butter