Tales from the Christmas table | The Goose & the oranges

The Christmas table, either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, is a tale of its own since is surrounded by Magic from head to toe. Magic in its creation, magic in its decoration, magic in the food and mostly, magic by the people that embraces it and no matter what type of style you would like for your Christmas table setting, it will always remain a magical tale just because you are sharing it with your loved ones.

A few nights ago while I was watching food channel, there was a top ten countdown for Christmas, all-time classic food with recipes from famous chefs for each food and somewhere between the 8th and 10th place was the goose with a classic recipe from Gordon Ramsey. I think so. And since Christmas goose is good enough for an all-time classic is also good enough for my Christmas tale table with a recipe inspired but adopted to my own version.

In my country, Cyprus, unfortunately we do not produce any fresh geese, ducks or even turkeys but fortunately there is LIDL store, my favorite Christmas destination for this year and as I have anticipated frozen geese and ducks was nothing hard to find. Once I have bought the goose and brought her home I have placed her back in the freezer and the day before I prepared the Christmas lunch, I have removed her from the freezer and placed her in a huge copper type-of-pan, that I mostly use for making marmalades and let her overnight in the sink to defrost and be ready for the next day. Brussel sprouts with pancetta ham and maple syrup – that’s a post coming soon –  and roasted new potatoes – another Christmas all-time classic, was completing the overall presentation.

In a Christmas day special lunch, I have decided that the goose should be treated exactly like a turkey, majestically and this is how I prepared mine, with tones of herbed butter (parsley-thyme-rosemary) under the skin, lots of other flavors inside the goose and my twist; slices of bacon and orange slices on top and orange juice instead of lemon juice.

The Christmas table was both rustic and posh in the same time with the choice of an old rustic background used as my table, handmade decorations of dry branches that I have painted days ago in white, pines and other accessories that nature has to offer this period of the year, combined with my formal dinnerware and champagne glasses in order to give that extra touch for my magic tale, while each of my guests was given as a small gift a ginger bread cookie that I have prepared some days ago.

Hope you enjoy this post and also feel free to follow me on my Instagram accounts, Cinnamonspiceblog and LadyAthenaConstantinou and tag me in your photos that you got inspired by this post for a chance to be featured in my accounts. I am wishing you Merry Christmas although I do believe I will be having more posts and more Christmas tales to tell you until Christmas day.

  • 1 free-range or young oat-fed goose where available, where not available use a frozen one from LIDL store about 4 – 4.5kg
  • Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 orange, halved plus 1 orange sliced plus the juice of 1 orange 
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 6-8 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of olive oil, and 1 cup of red wine (mix together) to drizzle the goose
  • 375g butter, at room temperature
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • small bunch of thyme leafs, finely chopped
  • 1 stern of rosemary leafs, finely chopped (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter.
  • Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon and orange zest and juice, crushed garlic, chopped parsley. thyme and rosemary and mix well, using your clean hands  to combine and get an even soft, herb mixture of butter.
  • Don’t forget to remove the giblets from the turkey cavity.
  • Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, 1/2 orange, crushed garlic – to release more flavour –  and the bay leaves.
  •  This is the hard part! Using your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the goose so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you not to destroy the skin. 
  • Stuff 3/4 of the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin.
  • Then use the rest of the butter on the outside of the skin and gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered.
  • Place the goose in a large roasting tray, breast side up.
  • Season the goose with salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle the olive oil and red wine mixture on top, evenly.
  • Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 25 minutes. 
  • Check on it regularly so that you don’t burn the top.
  • Then take the tray out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil, lower the oven at  180°C/Gas 4 and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg).
  • Is a good think to use a thermometer and check if the bird is cooked before you attempt to remove it and serve it although it is suggested that cooking time is about 40 minutes per kg. 
  • Personally I suggest to cook well any bird even though it might look slightly burned (like mine) than stay undercooked since the danger of salmonella is extremely high on Christmas period.
  • Transfer the turkey to a big platter and serve with Brussels sprouts and roast potatoes.