For the goose
- 1 x 5kg/11lb oven-ready goose
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 bay leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 3 small red apples (such as Cox or Discovery), cut in half horizontally
- sea salt flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
For the stock
- goose giblets
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped into 2cm/¾in pieces
- 1 celery stick, chopped into roughly 2cm/¾ pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- small bunch fresh thyme
For the apple and sage stuffing
- 2 tbsp goose fat (reserved from cooking the goose)
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized cooking apple, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 goose liver (optional)
- 100g/3½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
- 500g/1lb 2oz good-quality sausage meat
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra sage leave to garnish
For the cider gravy
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Place the goose on a rack over a large sturdy roasting tin and prick with a skewer a few times down each side just below the wing. Season the goose well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put the quartered onion and three bay leavers into the goose body cavity and cover the legs with folded triangles of foil. Roast the goose for one hour, then take it out of the oven and put on a board. Carefully drain the fat from the roasting tin into a large heatproof bowl.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
Cook the goose for another hour, removing the foil after 30 minutes so the legs can brown. (If your goose is very fatty, you may need to remove it from the oven and drain the fat one more time during the last hour of cooking.)
To test when the goose is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer, then press the skewer against the leg and check the juices that run out. When the goose is cooked, the juices should run clear.
Remove the goose from the oven and transfer to a warmed serving platter. Cover loosely with foil and a couple of dry tea towels. Leave to rest for 25-30 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Meanwhile, for the stock and stuffing, separate the liver from the rest of the giblets. Pat dry on kitchen paper and cut into small pieces, discarding any sinew or damaged parts. Put in a small bowl, cover and chill until ready to use.
Put the rest of the giblets into a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, celery stick, bay leaves, thyme and season. Pour over 1 litre/1¾ pints water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1¼ hours. Cover with a lid for the final 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a measuring jug.
For the stuffing, heat two tablespoons of the reserved fat in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onions for five minutes, or until softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Scatter the apple into the pan with the onion and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes, or until lightly carameslised. Add the goose liver and fry for a further 1-2 minutes until browned. Place the mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
Stir in the breadcrumbs, sausage meat and sage to the onions, apple and liver once cooked. Season with lots of salt and pepper and mix well. Grease a 20cm/8in square shallow baking tin with a little more of the reserved goose fat. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the tin and spread evenly. Cover and chill until ready to bake.
Place the eating apples alongside the stuffing. Brush the cut-side of each apple with a little more oil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the stuffing is golden-brown and cooked through.
For the gravy, hold the roasting tin with a dry tea towel at one end, so all the cooking juices run to the corner. Remove as much of the goose fat as possible.
Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and stir in the flour until thoroughly combined. Slowly stir in the cider and the goose stock. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly and scraping up the sediment from the bottom of the pan. Pour into a saucepan and return to a simmer, stirring with a whisk to break up any floury lumps. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally then season with plenty of salt and pepper. Strain though a fine sieve into a warmed jug.
Remove the tea towel and foil from the goose. Place the apples around the goose and garnish with a few sage or bay leaves. Serve the stuffing and gravy with the goose at the table.