1. Preheat your oven to 220°C/Gas 7.
2. Remove the packaging to let your goose get up to room temperature before cooking.
3. Pat the skin dry to make it extra crispy, and give it a decent rubbing over of salt. Also look in the cavity for two lobes of fat that need to be pulled out before you put the goose in the oven. You can keep this fat for cooking. To prepare it, very gently melt the chunks of fat in a pan over a very low heat, then pour in a sterilised jar and store in the fridge for up to 6 months. Remove any giblets from the cavity too.
4. Prick the goose all over so you pierce the skin but not the meat, making sure you pierce it well under the wings and aorund the thighs (this helps keep the flat flowing). Place your bird in a large roasting tin, breasts facing down.
5. Tuck some herbs, spices (cinnamon sticks, slices of ginger, star anise…), halved citrus and/or crushed garlic or onion slices inside the cavity. Don’t fill it more than half full.
6. Nestle some of the same aromatics and a bit of veg (carrots, parsnips, celery, fennel, celeriac) under the goose. It adds flavour to the bird and your gravy.
7. Roast breast-side down at 220°C/Gas 7 for 20-30 mins, or till the skin is crisp and bronzed.
8. Lower the oven to 170°C/Gas 3. Roast 30 mins for every 1kg. So if your bird weighs 4kg, if should take 2 hrs beyond the initial bronzing. Use your instinct. Ovens differ, your good judgement doesn’t. If it’s getting too tanned, loosely cover it with foil. If it seems done before time’s up, do the pierce test. Every 30 mins or so, baste the bird with the pan juices, then ladle any excess fat out of the tin and pour it into a heatproof bowl through a sieve. You will end up with lots of luscious fat – save this for roasting potatoes and other veg.
9. Pierce the fattest part of the leg with the tip of a sharp knife. If the juices run clear, it’s done. If they’re pink or reddish in any way, cook your bird for a bit longer. Check every 30 mins, piercing the leg as before.
10. When the juices are running clear, carefully flip the goose over to brown the breast. Crank the heat back up to 220°C/Gas 7 for 20 mins, or till the breast side is nice and golden. Rest your bird for at least an hour before carving.