Dukeshill Free Range Goose

Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat – hurrah!

A majestic Roast Goose is a magnificent sight on a festive table. For those of us that love the crisp skin and succulence of a Roast Duck the goose is a gamier version, sized up. Beautifully complemented with our Pork & Apricot Stuffing, Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing, Bread Sauce & Cranberry Sauce with Port.

Goose was a Christmas staple in times gone by but has been superseded by the turkey. Understandably so in some people’s view, as turkey is more versatile, better for cold cuts and countless leftover meals. Plus it’s also the healthier option as it’s less fatty, but at Christmas are you counting calories – really? In actual fact goose is also a versatile food making excellent goose confit, goose rillettes, goose soup, and goose sandwiches.

Roast Goose is enshrined in literary history by Charles Dickens who captured the spirit of the revived Victorian Christmas in his novella “A Christmas Carol”. Dickens tells of Master Peter Cratchit and the two younger Cratchits going to fetch their Christmas goose from the bakers, where it will have been cooked. Luckily for us we all have ovens!

Ole and Judy Gronning of Heart of England Farms in Warwickshire started out breeding, hatching and rearing game birds for the UK market. They have since added the poult rearing of Christmas birds to their enterprise. Their attention to the health and welfare of their birds is evident to see. The birds have over one hundred acres of maize crops and grassland to roam in, which is done on a rotation basis.

Neale and Judy with some of the Dukeshill happy geese!

Neale and I had the pleasure of visiting Ole and Judy, and the “Dukeshill geese” being reared especially for our customers. The farm is set in the most beautiful countryside and the attractive, snow white, buxom geese were surprisingly calm and relaxed as we wandered through them, probably because it was such a lovely stress free environment for them. According to Judy and Ole their normally noisy chatter and male squabbling becomes a background melody to every day life on the farm and a sure sign that Christmas is coming.

Hatched in spring the geese spend their entire lives free range after being “hardened off”. They are slowly grown to maturity using slow growing breeds. They are then hand-plucked, ‘game hung’ and dry aged to produce a rich, succulent, flavoursome meat with a hint of game. All our geese will come with giblets and cooking instructions. Having had a smaller gathering for Christmas last year we had Roast Goose for our Christmas lunch. It was voted the best Christmas meal ever by our family, which is saying something!