Shirley Balboa’s Christmas Goose

This is a traditional recipe for Christmas goose.

Shirley Balboa’s Christmas Goose 

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serves 8–10


  • 1 (10 lb) fresh goose with gizzards and liver, separated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ⅔ cup dry sherry, whiskey, bourbon or cognac
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cup giblet broth or store bought chicken stock
  • 1 bunch sage


Carefully prick the goose skin on all sides with a skewer, taking care to avoid piercing the flesh. Fill a pot large enough to hold the goose 2/3 full of water, and bring to a boil. Submerge bird neck side down for 1 minute, until goose bumps arise on the goose. Turn goose tail side down, and repeat the process. Remove goose from the pot, and drain. Place breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Set in the refrigerator, uncovered, to dry the skin for 24 to 48 hours.

When ready to roast. Remove the goose from the refrigerator. While it is still cold use a sharp knife to cut a cross hash pattern in the skin of the breast, taking care to avoid cutting the flesh. Let the goose come to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Sprinkle the goose inside and out with salt and pepper. Place the sage and goose liver in the cavity. Seal cavities with kitchen twine, and place the goose breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan.

Roast bird 1 ½ hours in the preheated oven; do not open the oven door during this time. After this time you may baste as often as you see fit. Use the baster to remove some of fat if more than about ½ inch accumulates at any time during cooking. Continue roasting 1 hour (2 ½ hrs total), or until the internal temperature when tested with a meat thermometer has reached a 180 degrees F.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Remove goose from the oven, and transfer to a larger pan. Return to the oven for 15 minutes to further crisp and brown the bird. Take out the goose, and transfer it to a platter. Use a coffee mug or small bowl to elevate the tail end somewhat. This heightens the flavor by allowing the juices to flow down through the breast meat. Let the goose rest in this position loosely covered with foil for at least 30 minutes.

To make gravy, pour off any of the pan juices. Placing them into a fat separator until you are able to pour away the fat. Place the remaining liquid back into the original roasting pan set over 2 burners. Mix in 2/3 cup of dry sherry, and 2 tablespoons flour. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon. Combine these drippings with homemade giblet broth or store bought chicken stock to make a gravy for the goose and stuffing.