Prepare the goose
Pull the giblets out of the cavity. Refrigerate the liver for use in the stuffing and set the other giblets aside for the broth. Tear off any loose deposits of fat from inside the cavity openings. With a chef’s knife, cut off and reserve the two long outermost sections of each wing, leaving only the section nearest the breast still attached. Next, with a paring knife, prick holes in the skin around the thighs, being careful not to cut into the meat. Finally, season the goose generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Set on a rack on a baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
Make the broth and start the stuffing
Using a cleaver, chop the neck and wings into 4-inch sections. Pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a 5-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add the neck, wings, and giblets (excluding the liver). Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme, and bay leaf and stir. Add 1 quart water and a small pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 2 hours. Strain, discarding the solids, and cool to room temperature before refrigerating. You should have 1-1/3 to 1-3/4 cups broth.
Combine the prunes and brandy for the stuffing in a small bowl, cover, and steep overnight. Arrange the bread cubes for the stuffing on a baking sheet and set aside, uncovered, to dry overnight.
Steam the goose
Put the goose breast side up on a V-rack in a large flameproof roasting pan with sides at least 3 inches high. Set the pan on the top of the stove over the largest burner and add about 1 inch of water. Cover the roasting pan tightly with heavy-duty foil (or with the domed lid if using a covered roaster). Bring to a boil and lower the heat so the water just simmers. Steam the goose for 40 minutes. Check the liquid occasionally to make sure it hasn’t evaporated and add hot water if necessary. Turn off the heat and uncover the pan, being careful of the steam. Remove the goose and rack from the pan and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes until cool enough to handle.
Make the stuffing and roast the goose
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Spoon 2 Tbs. rendered goose fat from the steaming liquid in the roasting pan (reserving the rest) and put it in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the goose liver and sauté, turning a few times, until it browns and feels springy, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to cool. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the celery, onion, garlic, thyme, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the bread cubes, soaked prunes, parsley, orange and lemon zests, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Chop the liver and add it to the bowl. Check the goose for pinfeathers or quills—these are most often found around the legs. Remove any with strong tweezers or pliers. Using a large spoon, loosely fill the large cavity of the goose with stuffing. If there is any leftover stuffing, use it to fill the smaller neck cavity.
Pour the steaming liquid from the roasting pan into a clean vessel and leave at room temperature until cool. When the liquid and fat are cool enough to handle, spoon the fat off, set aside 2 Tbs. for the gravy, and reserve the rest for cooking; discard the water.
Return the roasting rack and goose to the roasting pan. Roast for 1-1/2 hours and then rotate the pan for even cooking. Continue roasting until the meat on the drumsticks feels very soft when pressed, 1/2 to 1 hour more. You can also check that the thigh (near the joint) is 175°F to 180°F and that the stuffing is at least 165°F. Remove the goose from the oven.
Set the goose in a draft-free spot to rest for 20 to 45 minutes. If the kitchen is cool, tent the bird loosely with foil.
Make the gravy
Pour off the fat from the roasting pan, being careful to leave behind all the tasty pan drippings. Set the roasting pan over medium heat on the largest burner and add the wine, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to loosen all the pan drippings. Bring to a boil and reduce by about half, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Scrape the contents of the roasting pan into a strainer set over a bowl.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the 2 Tbs. reserved goose fat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the liquid from the roasting pan and then whisk in the broth. Simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened and full-flavored, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the jelly until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm while you carve the goose.
Serve the goose and stuffing with the gravy on the side.
To drink: Try the Juan Gil Monastrell 2006 ($16) from Jumilla, Spain. It’s zesty and spicy, with deep layers of cassis and a long finish.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Scott Phillips