Roast Michaelmas Goose with Apples and Prunes

"Mr. Rob. Mascall breakfasted here; he eats a great deal of butter. I dined upon goose yesterday, which, I hope, will secure a good sale of my second edition. Have you any tomatas? Fanny and I regale on them every day." Jane Austen to Cassandra, October 11, 1813
September 29, the Feast of Saint Micheal is one of the extant quarter days which survive from the agricultural calendar. In medieval England it was the start of the fiscal year,and even through the Regency and Victorian times it was celebrated as an end of Harvest holiday with feasting and special food. In Ireland and northern England, it was thought that if you ate goose at Michaelmas you would have good fortune for the rest of the year.This image was selected as picture of the day on the English Wikipedia 'Green’ geese which had fed on pasture, made a traditional feast for Michaelmas, in late September, and were less fatty than Christmas geese. The roast bird was always accompanied by apples, as windfalls were plentiful. Geese are in season from September to December but are not so widely available nowadays.
You will roast a [Goose] after it has been well plucked, cleaned and washed; and after roasting it, put it into a dish before it cools off and pour over it either orange juice or verjuice with rosewater, sugar and well-ground cinnamon, and serve it to your guests. Cariadoc's Miscellany
Roast Michaelmas Goose with Apples and Prunes Oven-ready goose with giblets - 4-5 kg (9-11 lb), thawed if frozen Butter - 15g (½ oz) Onion - 1 large, chopped No-soak prunes - 450g (1 lb) Port - 4 tbsp Fresh sage - 1 tbsp, chopped Fresh breadcrumbs - 110g (4 oz) Cox’s Orange Pippin apples - 6, cored and cut into 8 pieces Dry white wine - 300 ml (½ pint)
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 °C / 400 °F / Gas 6. 2. Prick the skin of the goose all over with a sharp skewer or fork and pull the inside fat out of the bird and reserve. 3. To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened. Separate the goose liver from the giblets and chop finely, then add to the onion and cook gently for 2-3 minutes. 4. Remove the stones from half the prunes and discard. Chop the prunes roughly and stir into the onion with the port. Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the sage and breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly together. 5. Spoon the stuffing into the neck end of the goose, then truss with strong cotton or fine string. Weigh the bird. 6. Put the bird on a wire rack placed in a roasting tin. Cover the breast with the reserved fat and then with foil. Roast for 15 minutes per 450g (1 lb) plus 15 minutes, basting frequently. 7. Thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time, drain off the fat and discard. Add the apples to the tin with the remaining prunes. Add the wine. Place the bird on top, standing on the roasting rack. Remove the foil and fat and cook, uncovered, for the last 30 minutes. 8. Serve the roast goose with the cooking juices and the apples and prunes. Plain boiled or mashed potatoes complement the richness of the goose. Braised red cabbage is also a traditional accompaniment. Copied from Helen's British Cookery Enjoyed this article? Browse our giftshop at for Regency recipe books!