Ale-Roast Goose with Double Red Cabbage

Ingredients (26)

For the goose:

  • 2 cups smoked beer (see Suggested Beers)
  • 2 cups strong dark Belgian ale (see Suggested Beers)
  • 2 cups milk stout (see Suggested Beers)
  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 1 (10- to 11-pound) whole goose
  • 2 long carrots
  • 2 large celery sticks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves but not skinned
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • a good bouquet garni: bay leaves and your woody herbs of choice, such as sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano or marjoram
  • 8 cups good-quality chicken stock (if needed)
  • fine sea salt
  • 1 ounce Flanders red

For the cabbage:

  • 2 pounds 4 ounces to 2 pounds 12 ounces red cabbage
  • 1/2 ounce unsalted butter
  • 2 red onions, sliced into half moons
  • 1/3 cup Flanders red or Oud Bruin (see Suggested Beers)
  • 1/4 cup port
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • fine sea salt
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Ale-Roast Goose with Double Red Cabbage

Roast goose is inherently festive, but don’t be intimidated if you’ve never tried it. This recipe flavors the rich, dark meat with four kinds of beer, a bit of brown sugar, pepper, and a bouquet garni (bay leaves and woody herbs tied up in a bit of cheesecloth or muslin). You end up with juicy meat, crisp mahogany skin, and a lovely pan gravy, plus plenty of rendered fat for roasting potatoes to go alongside. Paired with fragrant braised red cabbage that’s flavored with warm spices, golden raisins, port, and orange zest (and a little more beer), this is a perfect holiday dish—and you can make most of it several days in advance, so it’s actually a nice low-stress option for any celebratory late fall or winter feast.

Note: If you prefer, you can prepare this recipe using two ducks instead of a goose; just distribute the ingredients evenly among both smaller birds, or reduce them by half if you only want to cook one duck.

Make ahead: You can prepare both the bird and the cabbage up to three days in advance, and should rest the roasted goose at least overnight before finishing it to crisp the skin. The cabbage is better when it’s had time to mature, too. And if you want to serve this with roast potatoes (why wouldn’t you?) you will get far crispier ones by par-boiling them the day before and refrigerating them before roasting them with the goose (don’t forget to use the fat from the chilled pan juices to coat the potatoes before roasting)!

Suggested Beers: For the milk stout, try looking for Big Smoke Milk Stout; Left Hand Milk Stout; Batch Brewing Elsie the Milk Stout; Cassels & Sons Milk Stout; Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout; or Castle Milk Stout. For the smoked beer, Alaskan Smoked Porter is a good bet in the U.S., but also look for To Øl Smoke on the Porter; Okell’s Aile; Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen; and Ölvishot Brugghús Lava. And for the dark Belgian ale, try Chimay Blue; Unibroue Maudite; La Trappe Dubbel; Gordon’s Scotch Ale; or Brouwerij Kees Wee Heavy. These beers all work well with the cabbage: Duchesse de Bourgogne; Rodenbach; Liefmans Oud Bruin; Petrus Oud Bruin; La Sirene Farmhouse Red; Rodenbach Grand Cru; Lost Abbey Red Poppy; Thornbridge Love Among the Ruins; and New Belgium La Folie.

  • What to buy

    Circulon Nonstick Bakeware 17-Inch by 13-Inch Roaster with U-Rack, $29.99 on Amazon

    This large-capacity roasting pan includes a rack for when you want to elevate your protein, but you can remove it if you want to nestle the meat among vegetables and aromatics instead.

    See It ›

Tips for Christmas


To make the goose:
  1. 1Preheat the oven to 250ºF and boil the kettle full of water.
  2. 2Warm the beers (smoked beer, dark Belgian, and milk stout) in a saucepan and add the sugar.
  3. 3Pierce the goose skin all over, paying special attention to the fat pockets around the legs. Put the goose on a trivet, put it in the sink and pour the kettle of hot water over it.
  4. 4Make a square “nest” for the goose with the carrots and celery in a large roasting pan, then scatter the onions, garlic, pepper, and bouquet garni in the middle and place the goose on top, breast-side up. Pour half the beer/sugar mixture over it and sprinkle lightly with fine salt, then turn breast-side down and repeat.
  5. 5Add enough stock to the pan so the breast and most of the legs are covered (or as high as you dare, remembering you have to take it out when it’s hot!) and cook for 4–6 hours. When the leg bone starts to come away easily, it’s done.
  6. 6Take out of the oven and allow to cool for at least an hour, uncovered in the pan. Lift the goose out very carefully, making sure you empty the cavity of juices into the pan, but don’t throw the juices away!
  7. 7Put the goose on a plate to cool. Once cooled, put any juices from resting back in pan, and put the goose in the refrigerator uncovered (if putting in a cold place like a garage, shed, or larder instead, cover with muslin or something breathable).
  8. 8Warm the roasting pan on the stove and scrape the bits off the bottom, then pass the liquid through a fine sieve into as tall and thin a receptacle that will accommodate the liquid as you can find. Press hard on the veg to extract all the flavour before discarding them. Allow the liquid to cool and then put it in the fridge overnight, or for up to three days.
  9. 9On the big day, take the goose out of the refrigerator just before you want to re-heat it and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Sprinkle the breast and legs lightly with fine salt, then put the goose in the oven for 40 minutes or until you can stick a knife into the leg meat and take it out hot.
  10. 10While the goose is re-heating, take the jug of cooking juices out of the fridge and there should now be a truly glorious layer of goose fat on top. Leave it to warm up for a few moments and then gently run a sharp knife around the edge of the jug to remove the fat, carefully, in a disc from the top. Use this for the roast potatoes.
  11. 11Put the juices in a pan and reduce to your favoured consistency for gravy. It’s smart to have some chicken stock, any leftover non-bitter beer, or water on hand just in case you need more volume, but it should be enough. Add the Flanders red just before you are about to dish up.
  12. 12Rest your goose, uncovered so the skin stays crisp, for about 10 minutes (although it will stay warmer for longer if you need a bit more time. If so, you could carve it and put it in a heated dish). Then serve it with red cabbage (recipe below), roast potatoes, and all the trimmings.

To make the cabbage:

  1. 1Cut the cabbage in half, then quarters, and then shred on the widest setting of a mandoline or by hand so that the slices are more than 3/4 inch thick.
  2. 2Get a very large frying pan, skillet, or shallow pan, put over a medium-low heat, add the butter and gently fry the onions until they are yielding but not coloured.
  3. 3Add the cabbage, two-thirds of the beer, the port, golden raisins, cinnamon, allspice, bay leaves, and orange zest. The liquid should just come to the underside of the cabbage, but if it doesn’t, add a little water. Put a lid on the pan, very slightly ajar to let some steam out, turn down very low (use a pan heat diffuser if you have one) and allow to bubble away for 45 minutes.
  4. 4At this stage you can allow to cool and put in the fridge (freeze the orange juice and remaining beer in a tub together).
  5. 5When you’re ready to serve, add the remaining beer and juice, allow to simmer down slightly. Just one minute before you’re about to serve, season lightly with salt, stir that in and check that it tastes slightly under-seasoned. Remove from the heat, fish out the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and allspice berries, add the vinegar, stir and serve.

Recipes excerpted with permission from The Beer Kitchen by Melissa Cole, published by Hardie Grant Books © October 2018. Photography by Patricia Niven.

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