The First Day of Christmas and An Irish Christmas of Old

Just as the Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Americanization of an Italian tradition, many of the things we do during the holidays can be traced back to earlier Emigrants. Christmas Trees are from German. Long before the Irish Potato Famine, Irish settlers came to America, bringing with them traditions from home. Traces of those traditions can still be seen today.

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On the First Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me a Partridge in a Pear Tree. The symbolism here is not lost. The partridge is singular – as there is only one Lord and Savior, there is only one partridge in the pear tree.

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Not Your Typical Christmas Supper

I know, it’s early, but why wait till Christmas Morning to plan your Christmas Supper. And isn’t this a lovely Christmas Table? It is our Holiday Table. Yeah, I am very proud of my tablescapes.

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A Christmas Supper Worthy of a Kiss

It’s no accident that Kiss the Cook Day and Christmas Day are one and the same. While this might not hold true for the younger generation, when I was growing up Christmas was more than just gifts under a tinsel covered pine tree. It was all about family. And home-cooked meals.

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Guess What Day It Is!

Yeah, I know – it’s Christmas Day. It’s also National Kiss The Cook Day. So Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls pucker up! It’s time to pay for all those delicious meals that have been made with love.

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An Old Fashion Christmas

When I was quite younger, I dreamed of an Old Fashion Victorian Christmas. The very idea of Plum Pudding and Roasted Goose got my heart to skip a beat. I always thought I was born out of step with my true self and that I was better suited in the past.

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My Ugly Sweater Cake

Hey Everyone! I know, it’s after Christmas. But I just had to share the Ugly Sweater Cake with you. I did the baking, Kiddo did the decorating. It came out great! While I could have waited a year to share, who knows what I’ll have planned next year.

Merry Christmas! Continue reading “My Ugly Sweater Cake”

A Royal Presentation – Pork Crown Roast with Fruited Sausage Stuffing

This beautiful Crown Roast come to us from Betty Crocker. Who would have thought it, right? I have a bucket list of recipes I’m dying to try, yet for one reason or another, haven’t. Usually, these shortfalls are a direct result of that undeniable excuse – life.

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Traditional Christmas Dinner

In our house, Christmas Dinner always meant a smokey, salty ham. Dad would slow-cook that giant ham all day. Back then, hams weren’t pre-sliced or scored or made all trimmed and pretty. Dad baked up a nice, smoked picnic ham. It would feed everyone, and the bone (with a little meat still attached) makes for the best ever pot of ham and beans for New Year’s Day. While I don’t bake up a giant ham, I do select one that is spiral-cut and with the bone.

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The One-Hour Holiday Meal Miracle

Have you seen the awesome recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron? Not only did she bring together all the traditions of Easter Dinner, she did it in two baking sheets and all in under an hour! Too good to be true! While this might not serve a large group, it’s perfect for a small family gathering. And it doesn’t require a kitchen turned up-side-down. While the dinner is cooking in the oven, a quick wash of a few bowls and pans makes clean-up a snap. Line the baking sheets with heavy foil, and clean up just got even easier. This is a great idea not only for Easter, but anytime you want to serve up a wonderful “Sunday” supper without a lot of work.

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A Charles Dickens Christmas Goose

One Christmas, many moods ago, I got it in my head that we needed to serve goose for Christmas. I was feeling very nostalgic – thinking not of my own Christmas Past, but Christmas of long ago and far away. I was dreaming of a Charles Dickens Christmas. The problem was, I knew absolutely nothing about cooking a goose except a few basics.

Christmas Goose FatFirst – a goose is incredibly fatty – as in massive amounts of fat. (I was so shocked by the amount of fat, that I actually took a picture of it – long before blogging ever entered my mind. Glad I did, so I could share it with you today.) Goose fat is a good thing for future use, but not so good if you don’t remove as much as possible BEFORE roasting the bird. Good news here is that the fat is located in pockets, most found around the opening of the cavity and can be easily removed. Remarkably, this fatty bird actually has very lean meat.

Oranges 2pears 2Second – because the meat itself is extremely lean, it can dry out easily. A goose needs some tender loving care to prevent the meat from drying out. After all, who wants to eat dry meat? I decided that filling the cavity of the bird with pears and orange slices would help keep the meat moist from the inside. (Inspired by my own experience with Apple Stuffed Roast Chicken).

gooseThird – a goose can be tough. At least that’s what I’ve heard, but having never eaten a goose much less cooked one – this was a rumor – the truth of which I sought to avoid. Common sense said a smaller bird was younger, and less likely to be tough. Still, I was afraid. What if the bird was so dry and tough that Christmas dinner was a complete bust? What to do . . . what to do . . . and then a light came on. First, slice an orange and rub the bird inside and out with the orange. The acid in the juice will act as a tenderizer and begin to break down the meat long before cooking. Second, inject the bird with apple brandy. The brandy will impart a wonderful flavor to the meat, as well as to help keep it moist and tender. What I didn’t realize when I made this decision was that injecting the bird would also allow some of the fat between the skin and the meat find a way to escape during the roasting process. This turned out to be a good thing as well since the bird wasn’t swimming in its own internal fat.

goose 2What I didn’t realize about a roasted goose is that the meat is all dark. And I’m not talking dark as in chicken dark – I’m talking dark as in beef dark. Sliced goose breast more closely resembles sliced roast beef. Another drawback to goose is that it does not render big, plump slices of breast meat the way a turkey does. So plan to serve a second meat dish if feeding more than a few people. A second meat selection wouldn’t be a bad idea no matter what – goose isn’t for everyone. It has a wonderful, gamey flavor. If you don’t like to walk on the wild side, you won’t like goose. However; for those feeling a big more adventurous, come swim with me on the deep end of the pool.

Sometimes when guessing, you guess right. Knowing that a goose tends to dry out, knowing that an overcooked goose tends to have a livery flavor, and knowing that a duck is served medium-rare (pink), it made sense that a goose would be cooked in the same fashion. Just as turkeys and chicken are cooked in similar fashion, it made sense that a goose would be cooked like a duck. Often ducks are served nearly raw. For whatever reason, you can eat an under-cooked duck but not an under-cooked chicken. Go figure.

Christmas Goose
1 Young Goose, about 6-8 lbs
1 large orange, sliced
1 Cup Brandy
½ Cup Butter
1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Large Syringe or Flavor Injector
2 Bartlett Pears, cut into chunks
1 Orange, peeled and broken into natural slices

Lay goose on a clean counter. Reach inside the tail end and remove the excess fat. There will be an incredible amount of fat. Reach under the skin of the breast and remove some of the pockets of fat as well. (If desired, reserve and render for later use)

Slice first orange, rub bird inside and out with the orange. Discard orange. Inject bird inside and out with brandy. Let bird rest for a few hours in the refrigerator for the orange and brandy to soak in and begin to tenderize the meat. (Overnight is fine, too).

In a small bowl, mix butter and seasonings. Remove bird from the refrigerator and rub LIGHTLY with butter mixture. The goose will have enough fat on its own, this mixture is more to give the skin a nice golden color.

Fill the cavity with apples and oranges. Fill the neck with smaller pieces of fruit. Let bird rest again. It’s best to start roasting the bird once it has reached room temperature, so an hour or so before roasting is fine.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place bird, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack to keep bird from soaking in the pan drippings. Once oven has reached temperature, place goose in the oven, then IMMEDIATELY turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Roast goose for 20 minutes per pound, lightly basting every 30 minutes.

After about an hour, if the skin is nice and brown, turn bird breast side down and roast another 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked medium-rare.

Remove goose from oven, tent to keep warm and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, garnish with grapes, orange slices and other fruit as desired.

Carve and serve.

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