It is under this backdrop that we begin our search for recipes. A roast goose is a simple enough thing to make, but we want ours to be served with a Medieval flair. The easiest way to do this is to include a sauce, as most Medieval recipes do. Here are the recipes we found that seem to exemplify the type of sauce we want. They are exotic, seasonal, and go well with the flavor of the goose.
Sauce for a Gos (From 'A Fifteenth Century Cookery Boke')
Take percelye, grapis, clowes of garleke, and salte, and put it in the goos, and lete roste. And whanne the goos is y-now, schake out that is with-in, and put al in a mortre, and do ther-to .iij. harde yolkes of egges; and grynd al to-gedre, and tempre it vp with verious, and caste it upon the goos in a faire chargeour, & so serue it forth.
Take parsley, grapes, cloves of garlic, and salt and put them in the goose. Roast it. When the goose is roasted, shake out the stuffing and put it in a mortar with 3 hard boiled egg yolks. Grind it all together and temper it with verjus. Plate the goose on a charger and dress it with the sauce.
Gees with Sawse Madame (From 'The Forme of Cury')
Take sawge, parsel, ysope, and sauary; quinces and peers, garlek and Grapes, and fylle the gees therwith; and sowe the hole that no grece come out. And roost hem wel, and kepe the grece that fallith therof. Take galyntyne and grece and do in a possynet, whan the gees buth rosted ynouh: take and smyte hem on pecys, and that tat is withinne and do in a possynet and put therinne wyne if it be to thyk. Do therto powdor of galyngale, powdor douce and salt; and boyle the sawse, and dresse the Gees in disshes, and lay the sowe onoward.
Take sage, parsley, hyssop, and savory; quince, pears, garlic and grapes, and fill the geese with this. Sew up the hole so that no grease comes out and roast them. Keep the drippings. Mix galyntyne (a type of Medieval sauce base made with grated bread, spices, and vinegar) and the drippings in a pot. Once the geese are roasted chop them into pieces. Put the stuffing in the pot and add wine if it's too thick. Add powder of galangal, sweet pouder, and salt. Boil the sauce and arrange the geese in dishes. Dress the geese with the sauce.
These two sauces are in keeping with many recipes of the time in that they call for grapes and garlic to be served with the goose. The second recipe is more complex. Both have their advantages, however. The first recipe allows the flavors of the grapes come through more strongly, which is nice with the geese, and grinding the sauce in a mortar yields a nice texture. On the other hand, the second sauce's addition of quince, wine, and the galyntyne yield a rich, complex flavor. Blending the goose fat and drippings into the sauce also yield a sort of emulsified sauce with a texture reminiscent of a hollandaise. We chose to include aspects of both for our goose.
Many of the Medieval texts are somewhat vague on instructions for actually roasting the goose, but they offer some helpful hints. One suggests separating the skin from the flesh by either inserting a straw and blowing it or by using fingers. Doing this helps crisp the skin and allows some of the fat to render without poking holes all over the skin. Another suggests dipping the goose in boiling water to clean it. We found that pouring boiling water on the skin tightens it up and also helps the texture. With any large bird, brining it ahead will season the flesh and prevent it from drying out (although the enormous amount of fat on a goose virtually assures it won't dry out.) Brine 24-48 hours in the fridge or a cooler filled with ice.
Here is the recipe we came up with for our Roast Goose.
1 Young Goose (9-10 lbs.)
Brine (1c. salt, 1c. sugar, 1gallon water)
For the Stuffing
2 Quinces, peeled & cored
1/2 cup Grapes, halved and seeded
2 cloves Garlic
1/4 c. Mixed Herbs, chopped (any combo of parsley, hyssop, sage, and savory)
For the Sauce
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Verjus
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Ground Galangal
1/3 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup rendered goose fat/pan drippings
1/4 cup water
Brine the goose overnight. If it came frozen, make sure it is completely defrosted before roasting.
Using fingers or a wooden spoon, separate the skin from the flesh. Be gentle! Do NOT puncture the skin of the goose!!!
Bring one or two cups of water to a boil and pour over the goose.
Dry the skin thoroughly. It will dry out nicely if left in the fridge uncovered for a while.
Chop the quinces, grapes, garlic, and herbs & stuff these into the goose.
Sew or skewer the goose shut and lay on a rack. Pour a cup or two of water into the pan under the goose to prevent splattering/burning of the juices.
In a 350 degree oven, roast the goose for 20-30 minutes per pound. (Yeah, it takes a while.)
For the last 15-20 minutes, increase the heat of the oven to help crisp the skin if necessary.
Once the goose is roasted unskewer/unsew the opening and pour the liquids from the cavity into a sauce pot. Scoop the fruit etc. into that pot. Pour the drippings/fat into a separate container.
Add the wine, spices, verjus, reserved drippings, and water into the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Puree in a blender or a mortar and pestle until smooth. Pass through a sieve.