A Fifteenth-Century Goose Roast

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with a few good friends and try out some of the recipes from Cgm 384 and other fifteenth-century sources I translated. At the core of it was a goose, and excellent (and not oversized) bird my friend was able to procure. We tried the method detailed in this recipe from Cgm 384:

30 Filled Geese

Again take a goose as before, or one that is older, and prepare it. Grasp it (begriff die) between skin and flesh as you do a chicken and take garlic and bacon and pepper, pound that, fill it with this, and roast it very well.

The idea was intriguing, and it turns out separating the skin of a goose from its flesh is not very difficult. It can be done with the hand – begriff is a good descriptor. I had to separate skin and flesh with a knife around the initial opening, the rest worked easily wriggling the fingers.

The seasoning consisted of about half a pound of bacon, two bulbs of garlic, and a good tablespoon of ground pepper. All of it was chopped together, inserted between the skin and the flesh, and pressed on firmly from the outside. Next time, I will consider reducing it to a paste because individual pieces of bacon shrank and hardened during cooking, causing the skin and the meat to separate.

Still, the result was excellent. I cooked the goose in a closed roasting pan, the traditional Gänsebräter, starting at 150°C. The temperature was raised to 175°C after the first 90 minutes and to 200°C for the final 30 minutes with the lid open. The skin came out crisp and spicy, the meat juicy, tender and aromatic, and the process also yielded a lot of goose fat suffused with garlic that will perform admirably on Schmalzbrot.

Both because I was unsure whether our side dishes would work out and because we had leftover apples and bread, I also prepared a stuffing for the goose. Garlic, pepper, ginger and nutmeg comined well with this, though I have to say the next time I should sonsider one of the documented alternatives. The filling came out delicious, and since both side dishes also succeeded, we basically rolled away from the table.

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