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Food and Drink

12th Dec 2018

“We Eat This Every Christmas Eve After A Feed Of Pints In The Pub And It’s Better Than Any Turkey”

Darragh Berry

Christmas Eve runs like clockwork in our house. For me, I normally stupidly go out the night before and wake up Christmas Eve with seven heads on me.

My sister is normally travelling down from the capital good and early and when we all touch base, we head into town to do the final few bits of food and drink shopping (and any Christmas present shopping that has been forgotten about i.e. Dad and I).

We come home, open one present each (it’s normally a piece of clothing that my sister has bought me to wear for mass that year) and head off for the church.

Mass is finished and we tip into our local for a sup where we meet up with family and friends who you really don’t get to see throughout the rest of the year, sadly.

And all of those things make up the ideal Christmas Eve for my family and I but really, it’s all just leading up to one big finale.

I’m not talking about the following morning, I’m talking about what happens after we come home from the local.

Christmas Eve is a big preparation in our house when it comes to food and the bird of choose is not a duck or a turkey.

I’d happily take a goose over these birds for every day of Christmas. Sure, it might not go down as well in a sandwich as a turkey and it’s a lot more greasier than a duck but it’s actually heaven.

I’m salivating even thinking about it and to make me drool even more, I’m going to take you through our family method of getting the bird juiced and goosed.

Fair play to my parents, they are on the ball when it comes to start of this delicious midnight dinner’s journey.

They order it in good time from the local butchers. The free range goose is collected the day before Christmas Eve.

It’s kept in the fridge until around Christmas Eve morning and is taken out to sit at room temperature for a few hours before cooking.

The weight of the goose we normally get is around 8 to 10lbs (3-4kg).

We remove the neck first by slicing off the skin. When doing this, we try and remove as much of the fat as possible as it’s a very greasy bird.

Then, we remove the giblets which are used for the gravy and the fat is normally used on the roast potatoes.

Then, one onion and cloves of garlic are washed and are inserted into the cavity of the goose.

Mam is the expert of scoring the skin of the bird with a sharp knife and it is then seasoned well with salt & pepper.

Put that tongue back in…

Now, we’re getting into the business end of things. The goose is placed into a preheated oven on a wire tray.

The temperature and time that the goose goes in at is normally calculated by weight etc but if my memory serves me correctly, it was around 220 degrees (or Gas Mark 7) last year.

It’s covered with tin foil and the heat is turned down by about 50-60 degrees after 30 minutes.

After two and a half hours, the tinfoil is removed and some of the juice is poured over the back of the bird.

It’s put back in for another 30 minutes or so until it’s brown.

Then, it gets technical and the expert (Mam) is back in the hot seat. She makes sure that the juices in order to see that it’s fully cooked at the legs.

When cooked, it’s taken out and put in another dish.

The giblets are then cooked and the juices from the goose are used for gravy and roast potatoes on Christmas Day.

We have a small feed before mass on Christmas Eve and partner the goose with roast ham and salad.

But we leave the majority of it for later on that night where Dad is put in charge of the cutting and our plates are filled with sandwiches, goose and a nice cup of scald to wash it all down.

The goose has been a family tradition for centuries.

It’s a speciality food in our household now and one which we all like to have a part in until it gets to the tricky bits (I’m giving the parts that can’t be done wrong and for good reason).

I’ve been told that it was always eaten on Christmas Day in our village because the farmers fádo would rear their own for killing.

So, it’s great to see that this tradition lives on in our family, even if it comes one day earlier than it used to.

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