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Ballotine of Goose


1 free-range goose, de-boned, Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning, 

Stuffing: 50g butter, 1 large onion, finely diced, 2 sticks celery, finely diced, 1 heaped teaspoon orange zest, 4 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon brandy, 1 small bunch of fresh sage, finely chopped, 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped, 6 ready to eat dried apricots, chopped, 1 tablespoon dried cranberries, ½ teaspoon allspice, 150g breadcrumbs, 300g minced pork, 100g minced veal (optional) or cooked ham, 150g chicken livers – goose if you can, 1 medium egg, beaten, 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 1 flat teaspoon pepper, 12 sage leaves, 10 pitted prunes soaked in 100ml port for 48 hours, 6 slices cured ham, 

Sauce: 750ml stock, including the juices from the goose and good chicken stock for the rest, 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 2 ½ tablespoons arrowroot, 4 tablespoons red wine – something you are drinking with the goose

Serves 8-10

What you do:

To make the stuffing

Heat the butter in a large pan, add the onion and celery, plus 4 tablespoons of water, cover with a lid and sauté over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened. Remove the lid and continue cooking until lightly golden in colour.

Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, sage and parsley, cook off most of the moisture, then add the brandy and flame or ignite using a long nosed lighter. Once the flames subside, add the chopped apricots and cranberries and stir in the allspice. Remove from the heat and transfer into a large mixing bowl. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Add the breadcrumbs, minced pork and veal and combine everything together. Chop the livers if using and mix in together with the beaten egg, season with the sea salt and pepper. I like to fry a teaspoon of the stuffing to make sure the seasoning is correct.

To assemble

You will need a large piece of foil, 1½ times the size of the goose. You may need two sheets overlapping.

Lay a large sheet or 2 of parchment paper on top of the foil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Scatter a few sage leaves along the centre section of the paper. Lay the boned goose out flat on a board, skin side down, and open out completely, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Lay the slices of cured ham across the breast section. Place half the stuffing on top and make a shallow trench using the side of your hand. Insert the prunes and then top with the remaining stuffing.

Using cupped hands along the edges of the stuffing, shape it into a cylinder. Take hold of the parchment paper nearest you, pull towards you and upwards, roll up moving over and forward, tucking in the ends; the seal should be underneath. Bring the rolled goose in parchment towards the edge of the foil nearest you and repeat the process, then twist the ends of the foil tightly to form a firm sealed cylinder.

To cook

Place in a preheated oven at 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas 3 for 20 minutes per 450g. Remove the foil and parchment, cutting with scissors. Drain off the juices and reserve them for the sauce.

Place back in the oven and turn up the heat to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 and cook until golden brown, basting a couple of times throughout to help the colour. This should take about 25 minutes – factor this time into the total cooking time.

Remove from the oven and loosely cover with foil and a couple of tea towels. Leave to rest for about 30 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, have a stiff drink and make the sauce. Spoon off any fat from the juices (you can keep the fat in the fridge for your next roasties) and pour into a saucepan. You need 750ml of liquid, so top up using chicken stock and any resting juices from the meat. Add 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup to the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Thicken with 2½ tablespoons of arrowroot dissolved in 4 tablespoons red wine. Slowly pour into the simmering stock, whisking as you go until the liquid thickens slightly.

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