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Roast goose served with Cumberland sauce, roast potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, mashed turnips and braised red cabbage. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Charles Dickens unknowingly immortalized Ebenezer Scrooge when he wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. But he also created a place in history for the Christmas goose dinner. Ever since Victorian times it has been a symbol of that special holiday dinner when we get out the good china and silverware and put our best foot forward to create a memorable meal for family and friends.

The domestic goose is very similar to the duck, with all dark meat and lots of flavorful fat. The most important difference is that it weighs between 12 and 14 pounds as compared to the five- to six-pound duck.

In this dinner I have cooked the goose much like my recipe for duck. I began by soaking it in an overnight brine, then steaming it in the oven for an hour and finally roasting it until glazed and well-done, another two hours. The goose certainly makes a festive appearance on your table and it also captures that spirit of Christmas so well characterized by Dickens.


(all recipes for 8 people)

First Course

Buckwheat Blini with Gravlax
(prepare gravlax 2 days ahead)

Deviled Eggs

Salmon Caviar


Roast Christmas Goose with
Cumberland Sauce
(soak goose in brine 1 day ahead)

Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and
Brussels Sprouts

Mashed Turnips

Braised Red Cabbage


Individual Apple Cakes with
Buttered Rum Sauce

Deviled eggs and salmon caviar served with buckwheat blini and gravlax. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Deviled eggs and salmon caviar served with buckwheat blini and gravlax. (Credit: Vera Chinese)


Purchase a 2 1/2-pound fillet of very fresh salmon, leaving the skin on.

Crush 1 tablespoon peppercorns and 1 teaspoon coriander seeds with the back of a chef’s knife and combine them with 2 tablespoons kosher salt and 1 tablespoon sugar.

Cut slits through the skin of the fish and rub the seasoning mixture on both sides of the fillet.

Purchase 1 bunch of fresh dill and place one-third of it in the bottom of a ceramic casserole. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the dill and put the rest of the dill on top. Sprinkle the salmon with 2 tablespoons of gin and cover with plastic film. Wrap a brick (or other weight) in foil and place it on top of the salmon. Refrigerate for 2 days, turning it once and pouring off any excess liquid.

At service time, scrape off all the seasoning and dill and slice very thin on the bias.

Buckwheat Blini

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk to 110 degrees and remove from the stove. Stir in 1 inch of active dry yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.

Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk 3 egg yolks (save the whites) and 1/4 cup melted butter.

Add the warm milk to the flour mixture and stir in the egg yolk and butter mixture. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. When the batter doubles in size, fold in the whipped egg whites.

At service time heat a large sauté pan and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Using a 1/4 cup measure, add blini batter to the hot pan and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.

Deviled Eggs with Caviar, Anchovy and Dill

Bring 8 eggs to a boil in a saucepan, remove from the heat, cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Cool under cold running water, peel and refrigerate.

Cut the boiled eggs in half and place the yolks in a bowl. Mash them with a dinner fork and stir in 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash each of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce.

Spoon the filling back into the egg whites and garnish with red salmon caviar, a small piece of anchovy and a sprig of dill.

Roast goose served with Cumberland sauce, roast potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, mashed turnips and braised red cabbage. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Roast goose served with Cumberland sauce, roast potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, mashed turnips and braised red cabbage. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Roast Goose

Thaw a 12-pound goose in the refrigerator for at least 2 days.

For the brine, heat 1 gallon water and add 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 bay leaves and 1 tablespoon peppercorns.

Remove the giblets, neck and excess fat from the goose and rinse under cold water. Place the excess body fat into a small pan and cook at medium heat until dissolved. Set aside.

Set the goose in a deep roasting pan and pour the brine over it. Refrigerate overnight, turning once.

Brown the neck and giblets in a 400-degree oven along with 1 carrot, half an onion and 1 stalk of celery. Cook for 45 minutes and add to a saucepan, cover with cold water and season with a bay leaf, 3 sprigs of thyme and 6 peppercorns. Simmer for 2 hours, strain and skim off any fat.

Make a spice rub for the goose by combining 2 tablespoons five-spice powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons soy sauce.

Cut up 1 onion and 1 orange and place them in the cavity of the goose along with a piece of fresh ginger and 4 cloves of garlic. Tie the legs and the wings close to the body with string and rub the goose all over with the spice rub. Put the goose on a rack and place it in a 400-degree oven.

Bring 2 quarts water to a boil and pour it into the roasting pan with the goose. Cover tightly with heavy foil and steam in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, transfer the goose and rack to a sheet pan and discard the water in the pan.

Place the goose back in the dry roasting pan and continue cooking, uncovered, in the 400-degree oven for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The internal temperature will reach at least 165 degrees.

Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving.

Cumberland Sauce

Place in a saucepan 2 cups of the reserved goose stock and 2 cups commercial beef stock. Add to this 1 cup port wine and 1/2 cup red wine vinegar. Add 1/2 cup chopped shallots, 1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns and 1 cinnamon stick.

Squeeze the juice from 2 oranges into the pan and add the orange rinds. Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.

Strain into another saucepan and reduce by half. Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch into 2 tablespoons cold water and add to the sauce. Bring to a boil and stir in 1 tablespoon currant jelly. Taste for seasoning and cool to room temperature.

Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and Brussels Sprouts

Rinse 8 Yukon Gold potatoes and make slits across each potato through the skin and almost to the other side of the potato. Place on a foil-lined sheet pan and brush with the reserved goose fat from above. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.

Trim the carrots and sprouts and place them on the same pan. Brush them with the goose fat and season with salt and pepper.

Place in a 400-degree oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Mashed Turnips

Peel and cut 1 large rutabaga (winter turnip) into 2-inch chunks. Add to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash, then add 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

Braised Red Cabbage

Trim the outside leaves off of 1 head of red cabbage, slice into quarters, remove the core and then slice each quarter thinly. Peel and slice 1 red onion. Peel and chop 2 cooking apples.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan and add the cabbage, onions and apples. Sauté at high heat, tossing, for 5 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup red wine and 2 tablespoons cider vinegar along with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Individual apple cakes with a rum butter sauce. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Individual apple cakes with a rum butter sauce. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Individual Apple Cakes with Butter Rum Sauce

Whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. Stir in 2 lightly beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Peel, core and chop 4 large cooking apples and pulse them in a food processor (do not purée). Peel and slice 2 more apples crosswise into rings, cutting out the center. Set these aside with 8 maraschino cherries.

Combine the flour mixture, the sugar mixture and the apples with a wooden spoon.

Butter 8 ceramic soufflé dishes (8 ounces each) and spray with no-stick. In each dish, place a reserved apple ring in the bottom with a maraschino cherry in the center. Spoon the batter on top and press it down firmly.

Put the soufflé dishes in a 350-degree oven and bake until firm, about 45 minutes. Cool briefly and turn out onto serving plates or a cake stand.

Rum Sauce: Combine 8 ounces butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup dark rum in a saucepan. Cook at medium heat until it comes to a boil and remove from the heat. Serve warm.

John Ross