This Christmas, our friend, chef Bobby Flay, may have bitten off more than he can chew:
What to cook for Christmas dinner has always been a quandary for me. It's a handful of weeks after the most perfect culinary holiday we celebrate, Thanksgiving.
But that was weeks ago, and now it's time to get your Christmas dinner on!
Unlike Thanksgiving, my Christmas menu seems to change every year or so. There's my Dad's favorite, rack of lamb -- a perfectly good choice, but my Mom thinks lamb is too gamey. Sorry, Dad!
One of my favorites is a prime rib of beef. Season it with lots of salt and pepper, some fresh cloves of garlic, kick it into the oven, and a few hours later, dinner is served.
But this year I had an epiphany. I'm going "old school"! I'm going to fire up a Christmas tradition that I've always passed over. I'm taking inspiration from Charles Dickens.
I'm roasting a Christmas Goose!
When the idea hit me, it sounded so festive, so retro in the hippest way, so ... well, Christmassy.
Full disclosure: Somehow in my 34 years as a professional cook, I have never attempted it. But how hard could it be?
It was time for a test drive. My first attempt was awful. I pricked the skin with a fork, seasoned the goose well with salt and pepper, rubbed it with lemon and garlic, and let it roast on med/high heat in the oven. The result was a glorious amount of rendered goose fat in the bottom of the pan (great for sautéing or frying potatoes, by the way), but my goose was, as previously advertised, fatty and tough. It was an epic fail!
So I turned to my mentor, pioneering chef Jonathan Waxman, for his secret: "You just have to get a good goose, that's it!"
The perfect roast goose became my obsession. I consulted with Martha, Gordon, Wolfgang and Emeril (on the Internet, of course) to see if their recipes could help. Still my results were, let's just say, not great.
Not one for giving up, I called for one last goose. I preheated the oven to perfect goose-roasting temperature (375 degrees), perforated the skin with the utmost precision, seasoned the bird with a slew of flavorful aromatics, and rested it on a roasting rack ready for action.
A couple of hours later, the bird was on the table. I began to carve it. The aroma was amazing! I felt a Tom Brady-like touchdown celebration was a moment away.
I called over my most trusted and honest confidantes to taste and exclaim a goose victory. Each took a forkful of the luscious meat and golden skin -- and with the timing of Olympic synchronized swimmers, they simultaneously walked away with their heads held low and their jaws working harder than the pistons in a car.
There was only one thing left to do: Turkey, anyone?
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