Roast Goose

The goose was always England's festive bird, valued not only for its rich meat and fat but also for the down and feathers.
It was traditionally served on Michaelmas day, the 29th of September, with apples (at a time when there would have been plenty of windfalls).

Serves: 6

Preparation: 30 minutes + 20 minutes resting

Plus: Cooking time: 2 1⁄2–3 hours


  • 1 oven-ready fresh or frozen Goose 4.5 kg
  • Salt and freshly ground black Pepper
  • 1 Onion, chopped roughly
  • 10 Sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried Sage
  • Sage, Onion & pickled Walnut stuffing
  • fresh Sage leaves, to garnish

To serve

  • Stuffed apples
  • Roast potatoes
  • Braised red cabbage with apple


Thickened gravy

Remove the giblets and use them to make stock.
Cut off the large pieces of fat from inside the cavity. Rinse inside and out and pat dry.
Season the inside of the cavity and put in the onion and fresh or dried sage (these are just to add flavour).


Stuff the neck end (only) of the bird with the sage, onion & pickled walnut stuffing. Press it in as far as it will go and then pull the neck flap back over the neck and underneath.
Hold the flap in place by sewing with a trussing needle and fine string or use a small metal skewer.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C. Re-weigh the bird and calculate the cooking time.
Allow 15 minutes per 450g plus 15 minutes.

  1. Rub the goose with salt and prick the skin all over, using a fine metal skewer. Try not to pierce the flesh.
  2. Lay the goose on a rack or trivet in a roasting tin, breast side down, and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to Gas Mark 3/160°C and continue roasting, basting frequently.
  4. Every 30–40 mins, pour off the fat from the roasting tin. For the last 30 minutes, raise the oven temperature again to Gas Mark 6/200°C and turn the bird breast side up (use oven gloves or a thick cloth).
  5. When the skin is golden and crisp, cover the goose with foil to prevent burning.
  6. To test if done, insert a metal skewer into the thigh at the thickest part;if it is cooked, the juices should run clear. If they are still pink, cook for a little longer.
  7. When the goose is cooked, leave it to rest on a warm serving platter, covered with foil, for 20 mins.
  8. To serve, remove the trussing and carve.
  9. Scoop out the stuffing and serve with stuffed apples, roast potatoes and braised red cabbage with apple, adding thickened gravy to taste. Garnish with fresh sage.

Freezing not recommended


  1. If the bird is frozen, remove it from the bag and place it in the lowest part of the refrigerator until thawed. Allow 17 hours thawing per kg.
  2. Do not stuff the body cavity of the goose as it will take the goose longer to cook thoroughly
  3. The easiest way to remove excess fat is to take the roasting tin from the oven and lift the goose, still on its rack, on to a baking sheet, then pour the fat into an ovenproof basin.
  4. Use the goose fat to roast the potatoes.

This recipe is from Women's Institute Complete Christmas a WI recipe book published by Simon & Schuster UK.

For a complete list of WI Recipe books send a sae to WI Enterprises 104 New Kings Road, London SW 6 4LY