The Weihnachtsgans or roasted goose is a traditional Christmas dinner in Germany. Every year 5 million geese are imported from Poland for this purpose.
A legend says that Saint Martin was hiding in a goose stable because they made him a bishop which he did not wanted. The geese did their usual job when they are in danger like when someone is in their stable and their noise notified others about the hiding out of Saint Martin.
That is one reason why roasted goose is being served on the St. Martin’s Day on November 11. Centuries ago people used fasting before Christmas starting from November 11 and ending on December 24. The fasting would begin with a meal containing a roasted goose and then on December 24 the main dish would also be a roasted goose. That’s why roasted goose has become a traditional Christmas dinner on December 24 or 25.
The herb “Mugwort, or Beifuss” in German, is used in the traditional recipe, and you can get that herb as a dried version online. Happy Cooking!
1 goose prepared and ready to cook (4,5-5 kg)
1 tbsp dried marjoram and mugwort, salt, pepper to taste
2 medium sized potatoes
2 cups of soup vegetable: leaves of celery, parsley root, 1 leek, 1 carrot, 1 celery root
2 small onions
creme fraiche or heavy cream
tooth picks, kitchen yarn
– Preheat oven to 200 C or 390 F (or 180 C or 370 F for convection oven).
– Wash goose inside and outside, dry it thoroughly.
– Spice inside with salt, pepper and the herbs.
– Cut potatoes and apples in half and place the pieces inside the goose. (Important: this filling has the purpose only to soak up the goose fat and should NOT be eaten).
– With yarn and toothpicks close the goose and then spice outside with salt and pepper.
– Now place the goose (breast on bottom) into the frying pan and add 375 ml boiling water. Roast it for 30 minutes, water should have been evaporated to one third, then turn goose around, reduce heat to 375 (or 350 convection). Roast it for another 2-2 1/4 hour.
– Prepare the vegetable, wash, cut it roughly, peel onion and cut in quarters. Add everything to the goose.
– Baste the goose now and then with the stock.
– Mix 1/8 liter water with 1 tsp salt, brush the liquid all over the goose, increase heat to 400 F and broil the goose for 5-10 min to get a crunchy skin. Time can be even shorter. Watch it closely.
– Remove from the oven and keep warm.
– Drain the juice through a sieve and squeeze the vegetable through the mesh.
– Fill stock into a separate pan, add creme fraiche or heavy cream, and spices if needed to taste.
– You can mix 1 tbsp corn starch in some water and add to the gravy to thicken it (optional).
– Cut goose into pieces and serve per tradition with German red cabbage and dumplings.