Michaelmas Goose

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Goose is so firmly associated with Michaelmas, September 29, in Ireland that the old Irish name for the holiday was Fómhar no nGéanna, “the goose harvest.” There are countless variations on the stuffing, but they usually involve apples and potatoes.


Cooking Methodroasting


Total Timehalf-day

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturefruity, salty, savory


  • One 9- to 11-lb/4-5- to 5.5-kg goose, with giblets, completely thawed if frozen
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • Bouquet Garni (2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, and 1 bay leaf, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth)
  • 4 slices bacon, minced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 cups/850 g freshly made Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Applesauce for serving


  1. Separate the liver from the giblets and set aside. Put the heart, neck, and gizzard in a medium pan. Add a third of the onion, the carrot, celery, and bouquet garni, then add enough water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours.

  2. Fry the bacon over medium heat in a large skillet with a lid (do not cover) until brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower the heat, add the butter to the bacon fat, and when it has melted, add the remaining onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they soften.

  3. Finely chop the reserved goose liver, then add to the onions. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the apples to the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the apples have broken down and are very soft. Stir in the mashed potatoes, sage, thyme, and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C (Gas Mark 6).

  5. Wash and dry the goose thoroughly inside and out. Pull out any fat inside the cavity and reserve it to render later for cooking fat. Prick the skin of the goose all over with a fork, then rub salt all over the skin. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, then fill with the mashed potato-apple stuffing. Truss the goose with kitchen twine, binding the legs and wings close to its body.

  6. Put the goose into a heavy roasting pan large enough to hold it, with a little room around the sides, and roast it for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and draw off the rendered fat with a bulb baster or large spoon. (Reserve the fat for cooking.) Return the pan to the oven and decrease the temperature to 325°F/160°C (Gas Mark 3). Roast for about 2½ hours more, drawing off rendered fat at least once more as it cooks. Test for doneness by pricking the thigh at its thickest point with a skewer. If the juices run clear, the goose is done; if they’re pink, roast for another 15 minutes, then check again Meanwhile, strain the giblet stock, discarding the solids, and set aside.

  7. When the goose is done, transfer it to a large serving platter to rest. Draw off any remaining fat, then set the toasting pan over 2 burners on the stove top. Deglaze with the stock, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Strain the gravy into a gravy boar or bowl.

  8. Carve the goose at the table. Serve with applesauce and the gravy.


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