Roast goose

For a perfectly cooked goose this Christmas, try Aldo Zilli's recipe that uses lemon, chestnuts and butter to add flavour and keep the meat moist
By Aldo Zilli
Roast goose
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: (including resting time)
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour marinating
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 fresh goose, weighing about 4 kg
  • 4 lemons, grated zest of 4 and juice of 2 only
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon thyme, leaves, plus 1 bunch lemon thyme
  • 5 ready-cooked and peeled chestnuts, sliced
  • knob butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • roast shallots, and roast potatoes, to serve


1. Using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the skin of the breast and leg in a criss-cross pattern (this will help the fat to render down more quickly during roasting).

2. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest, olive oil, lemon thyme leaves, half the chestnuts and the juice of two of the lemons. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining chestnuts and the butter, then add about one tablespoon of the lemon and olive oil mix.

4. Using clean hands, gently lift the skin away from the breast of the goose, taking care not to tear the skin. Push the chestnut and butter mixture under the skin, spreading it out to cover as much of the breast as possible. Press the skin back down on top.

5. Rub the remaining lemon and oil mixture all over the goose and spoon some inside the cavity. Place one of the zested (but not juiced) lemons inside the goose with the bunch of lemon thyme and the garlic. Season the bird all over with salt and leave to marinate at room temperature for one hour.

6. Preheat the oven to its maximum setting (about 240C/220Cfan/gas 9).

7. Roast the goose for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and cook for a further for 1 hour 30 minutes. Check the goose regularly and, if it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Baste the bird with the pan juices and fat every 15 minutes or so, and pour off any excess fat in the tin (you can use this fat for roasting your potatoes).

8. Once the goose is cooked, remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

9. Serve with roast shallots and roast potatoes and any other trimmings you like.

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