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Roast Goose

Choose a young bird, one that is about 6 to 8 months, and between 8 and 12 pounds. In estimating serving size, you should allow 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of goose (raw weight) per person. Fresh geese are not available during February and March because the older birds are stringy and tough. If you have a mature bird, more than 12 pounds, you should braise, stew, or confit it in pieces, as you would a duck.

To prepare a goose, cut off the excess fat from the neck and from the inside cavities. The fat may be rendered like duck fat and made into cracklings, or used to cook potatoes, croutons, or omelets. Prick the skin of the back, breast, and legs well to let the fat escape as the bird cooks.

Roast the goose at 450° for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 400°.

There will be a lot of fat - up to a quart - so it needs to be removed at least every 30 minutes during cooking. A bulb baster or large spoon will work. Take care; that fat is very hot!

As with most poultry, the problem with geese is that if they are cooked whole, the breast gets done first and can dry out while the legs are finishing. Either remove the breast and keep it warm, or tent it with aluminum foil. Either way, continue to baste the legs often to keep them moist.

The bird is cooked when the meat measures 165° to 170° on an instant-read thermometer and the breast juices run pale pink (not rose-colored, like a duck's) when pricked. As a rule of thumb, calculate between 13 and 15 minutes per pound unstuffed, and 18 to 22 minutes per pound stuffed. When the goose is done, remove it from the oven and let stand for at least 20 to 25 minutes before carving.

To reheat a goose, cover the bird with aluminum foil and put it back in a moderate over (350 °) until heated through, Alterately, reheat in a sauce to keep moist.

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