For Christmas dinner this year, serve a savory, roasted goose — a fresh-from-the-farm bird if you can find one. Even though early American settlers had an unlimited supply of wild turkey, old European custom prevailed at holiday dinners, especially with the roasting of the Christmas goose.

Geese mate for life and are an ancient, long-lived species. In early spring and late autumn, we’ve all heard the ganders’loud honking from migrating wild geese — big birds with hard-snapping bills. Domesticated flocks arriving seasonally from Europe made good watch-geese for our ancestors and are effective as such today. An annual hatch of goslings and a smooth fat egg each day came from the goose. And, a mere couple of centuries ago, official written word was impossible without quill pens made from goose tail and wing feathers — and the well-equipped bridal chest contained comforter, pillow and slippers filled with goose down. Goose fat gave water repellence as well as shine to boots, and mothers rubbed it onto the chests of sick and coughing children.

Goose or duck is prepared for roasting much like a turkey. Instead of bread stuffing, try a quartered apple and an onion, a stalk of celery with salt, pepper, garlic and herbs. Water birds have an insulating layer of fat just beneath their skin, so do make sure to prick holes with a fork all over so the valuable and delicious fat can render out into the roasting pan. Duck and goose fat are semisolid at room temperature and store well refrigerated in jars. Their more than half monounsaturated fat is where the antimicrobial effect resides. Remember, unlike most vegetable and seed oils, animal fats can take really high heat and not become dangerously damaged. Goose fat drippings may be used in many baking recipes and produces the finest fried potatoes you’ll ever eat.

Goose and duck fat is a staple delicacy in the Gascony region of southwest France where a decade long epidemiological study concluded that the Gascon diet is higher in saturated fat than that of any other group of people in the industrialized world. These descendents of the Three Musketeers produce much of the world’s foie gras, the fattened livers of ducks and geese. They slather their bread with duck and goose fat; they snack on fried duck skin and eat twice as much foie gras as even the rest of their country folk — fifty times as much as Americans. The Gascons cook everything in duck fat and eat foie gras on Sundays, and live long, robust lives.

This is termed “the French paradox” by nutritionists still subscribing to the lipid hypothesis that consumption of animal fat causes heart disease. Mary G. Enig, author of Know Your Fats and many research papers refuting this claim, is joined by an ever increasing number of professionals. Food with good fat is so warm and comforting that I find the information linking statin drugs and depression particularly relevant at Christmas when the days are short and the nights long and cold.

My wish is that St. Nick (interestingly, a native of Turkey) might bring a gaggle of geese to American farmers this holiday season … six geese a-laying as the song says.

Happy Christmas to all from Lynn.

Contributing Author Lynn Cameron owns the AromaVital.com website and has conducted her own research into the complementary health field since the early seventies.

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3 Comments for "How About Roasting a Goose for Christmas Dinner?"

  1. Diane Vigil

    Mmm, Lynn. That sounds delicious. It’s a thought!

  2. Lynn Cameron

    The cooking shows I watch too many of recommend a sweetly acidic accompaniment to the richness of goose and duck.

    Here’s a tasty suggestion:
    1. Simmer for 15 minutes a pound of fresh cranberries until they pop with 3/4 cup Port (alcohol evaporates out), 1/2 cup orange juice and a couple Tbls. of the zest, 1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup agave syrup, and a thick slice of gingerroot. Stir a lot.
    2. When sauce thickens remove the ginger and melt in a couple Tbls. red currant jelly or similar.

    This makes about 3 cups and keeps well. Serve at room temperature with roast fowl.

  3. Lynn Cameron

    Now it\\\\\\\’s after at least one holiday feast, and likely there are some fowl bones left. I save them all. If you made the effort to find and pay the price for a natural organic bird, this is your value-added, nutritional bonus. I make bone broth, and it\\\\\\\’s pretty easy.

    You can use it as the liquid for canned soups to seriously increase the nutrient content. You can cook rice etc. using it half and half with water. Use it as a base to make your own homemade soup. I especially like to keep good chicken broth in my freezer for health first-aid to hand when required.

    Sally Fallon, cookbook author and director of The Weston A. Price Foundation on Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts shares terrific information here:
    http://www.westonaprice.org/Broth-is-Beautiful.html
    She will tell you more than you, perhaps, have time to read right away. Scroll down for stock recipes, though, and bookmark for future study as you wish.

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