When I was giving a few folks from the local Slow Food Chapter the unofficial artisan cheesemakers tour of Newburg, one of the people asked if I knew where they could get a goose for the holidays. Although I didn't know anyone personally, we had driven past a farm with a huge flock of geese in their pasture. They also had ducks, chickens and a shingle hanging in their driveway advertising brown eggs.
"Turn in there," I said the driver.
"Why?" he replied.
"We're going to see about getting you a goose."
"Do you know these people?"
"No, but I'm guessing they've just might have geese for sale."
They did and so I met a new local producer, The Shirk family, who at Pecan Acres, raise pastured ducks, geese, laying hens and beef. The Slow Food guy got his goose and I couldn't pass one up either.
It's been a long time since I cooked a goose, so I double-checked on the basic temperatures (450 the first 15 minutes and then 350 for 20 minutes per pound) and then winged it. I started by loosely stuffing the cavity with a few fresh tangerines, Toigo Orchard pears and rosemary. Seasoned only with sea salt and white pepper, the bird went into the oven. Next, I cut up a variety of winter vegetables--yams, crook-neck squash, carrots, fennel and onion, tossing in fresh brussel sprouts and a handful of cranberries before marinating in a mixture of olive oil and white truffle balsamic reduction sauce and roasting on the rack below the goose for a good hour until all the vegetables had caramelized. For the last 15 minutes of roasting, I glazed the goose with tangerine zest & juice, local honey and smidgen of freshly grated ginger. What else was on the table? Freshly baked bread, my farmstead butter, a variety of artisan cheeses from Keswick Creamery and Birchrun Hills Farm and two phenomenal bottles of wine--a 2006 Staatlicher Hofkeller Wurzburg Slivaner Troken Franken from one of the oldest wine estates in Europe and a 2007 Testarossa Castello Chardonnay brought from the central coast of California, by my good friends Nick & Pan who were home visiting for the holidays.