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1. Make the stock. Put the neck, giblets and wishbone from the goose into a large saucepan with the vegetables and bouquet garni. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil then simmer, half covered, for 11⁄2-2 hours. Strain the stock when it is ready. (You can make and strain the stock up to 24 hours ahead, and keep it in a covered container in the fridge.)
2. Make the stuffing. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the onions, cover and sweat on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes. Tip in the apples, thyme and orange juice and cook, covered, until the apples are soft and fluffy – about 10 minutes.
3. Boil the potatoes in their skins for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and peel when cool enough to handle, then mash and add to the fruit and onion mixture with the zest and seasoning. Allow to get quite cold before stuffing the goose.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C. Season the cavity of the goose with salt and freshly ground pepper and rub a little salt into the skin. Stuff the cavity loosely and roast for about 2 hours. To test if it’s done, prick a thigh at the thickest part: the juices that run out should be clear. If they are still pink, the goose needs a little longer.
5. Put the goose on a serving platter and put it in a very low oven while you make the gravy. Spoon the fat from the roasting tin and save it in a covered container in the fridge – it will keep for months and is great for roast potatoes. Pour about 600ml/1 pint of the strained stock into the tin and bring to the boil on the hob. Using a small whisk, scrape the tin well to dislodge the flavourful meaty deposits. Taste, then strain and serve in a hot gravy boat. Serve the goose garnished with bay leaves and hand the gravy and apple sauce separately.
4.5 kg oven-ready goose, neck, giblets and wishbone removed and saved for the stock
FOR THE STOCK
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 bouquet garni (a sprig of thyme; 3-4 parsley stalks; 1 celery stick, sliced; and 6-7 peppercorns – all in a muslin bag)
FOR THE POTATO STUFFING
450g onions, chopped
450g cooking apples, peeled and chopped
2 tsp thyme or lemon thyme leaves
2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice
900g floury potatoes, halved if large
3 tsp finely grated orange zest
Bramley apple sauce