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Roast goose breast with apples and raisins

Mon, 2 March, 2020

Goose breast can be cooked just like duck breast: seared in the skillet then transferred to roast in the oven. Served with fruit and raisin topping, it’s a special treat.

roast goose breast with apples and raisins

Goose is a posh bird

Goose is an expensive beast and, at least in England, not readily available outside Christmas time. Even then it’s quite a luxury – it's a big bird but there is not as much to eat on it as on a duck, let alone a turkey. So the best bet if you want to enjoy it is to hunt post-Christmas bargains at the butchers’.

If you're lucky, you can buy goose quarters at a quarter of the pre-Christmas price. Roast the breast, and you can make a wonderful confit of the legs to put into a cassoulet or, cross-culturally, shred and stuff in tacos.

roast goose breast with fruit topping

Goose for St Martin’s Day

Christmas was not the traditional day to serve goose on in a lot of Europe: it was 11 November, St Martin’s Day. That’s the Catholic feast to commemorate 4th century Saint Martin, a former Roman soldier, converted Christian and eventually Bishop of Tours.

His saintliest act seems to have been giving half his cape to a beggar on a frosty night. It sounds like sainthood was not a tough career choice at some points in history…

Goose was the traditional dish on the date since apparently Martin hid in a geese pen to avoid being ordained bishop, but geese gave him away by honking loudly. It ended badly for the goose, but it is a cheerful Halloween-equivalent of a holiday in Germany, Sweden, France and other European countries, with children carrying lanterns after dark and collecting sweets for a song.

In some regions the celebrations start at 11:11 am, on 11th November (11th month) which is rather a wonderful symmetry. But I don’t believe there is any relation between St Martin and the English ‘eleventh hour’ saying which means ‘the very last moment’.

goose breast fillet

What does goose taste like?

You’d think a goose is just like a slightly larger duck, but the flavour is different. Goose meat is not as tender as duck but it tastes mature, fulsome and rich.

It is as fatty as duck but – a little disappointingly for taste buds but good news for your waistline – the skin is not as nice to eat. Your choice, of course, but I find it too chewy and too thick.

oven roasted goose breast

How to cook goose breast

A goose breast is best cooked precisely like you’d cook a duck breast, a little longer depending on the size. The enormous amount of precious (for potato roasting on another occasion) fat needs to be rendered first by placing the breast fillet skin side down in a cold skillet or frying pan over medium heat.

cookinggoose breast

After 10 minutes or so the skin should be golden and crisp; peek underneath often as you don’t want the fat or the skin to burn and spoil the flavour of the meat. Shift the fillet onto a clean roasting tray and the goose will go into a preheated oven for a few minutes.

Afterwards it needs to rest, and to be sliced across not too thinly.

how to cook goose breast fillet

What to serve with goose

Like duck, it also requires something fruity, sharp and sweet to cut through the richness and fat. I like the apple and raisin topping, easy to prepare and really complementing the meat.

apple and raisin topping

Some fresh greens will go nicely with such a rich dish and perhaps just a boiled potato or two. Roasties sound like a heavenly match, especially if you should use the rendered fat but your arteries might scream in terror.

The fat must be saved, without question, but for another occasion when the meat element is a little lighter on the stomach.

goose breast fillet with fruity topping

More fruity meat recipes

Duck, just like goose, likes fruity toppings: oven roasted duck breast with pineapple is proof.

Or you can make a gorgeous blueberry sauce for the duck breast and put the leftovers on porridge. That’s the leftover sauce, not duck.

Guinea fowl, the game bird for people who don’t like game, is great stuffed with dried figs, dates and raisins.

Not just poultry goes with fruit: pork steaks with clementines are really delicious.

scored goose breast

Roast goose breast with apples and raisins

Servings: 2Time: 40 minutes
Rating: (4 reviews)


  • 1 goose breast fillet, about 450g (1 pound)
  • salt and black pepper
  • For the topping:
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2 medium eating apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 tbsp. raisins or sultanas
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 60ml (¼ cup) dry red wine
  • 120ml (½ cup) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. apple marmalade (or apricot jam)


1. Score the goose skin in a criss-cross pattern, making sure not to cut through the meat. Rub both sides with salt and pepper.

2. First prepare the topping: melt the butter in a skillet and add the apples, raisins, spice and cinnamon. Cook covered over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

3. Add the red wine and let it cook off. Pour in the stock and turn down the heat. Let it simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the marmalade and keep warm.

4. Place the goose skin side down in a cold frying pan and set it over medium heat. Let the fat render gently and the skin crispen for about 10 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas 9 with the rack set at the lowest level.

6. When the goose is done in the frying pan, transfer it, skin side up, to a clean roasting tray. You can just turn it over in the pan if it’s ovenproof but the fat might burn too much and give the meat burnt flavour. Transfer the goose to the oven and roast for 5 minutes for rare and 10 minutes for medium.

7. Remove from the oven and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

8. To serve, slice the fillet not too thinly and top with the apples and raisins.

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Kate - that's a shame, but indeed a skinless breast would overcook and turn tough in this preparation. Try brining it next time, either in a salty solution or simply sprinkled with salt, unwrapped, in the fridge for a day or two.
4 months ago
First time cooking goose and used this recipe. The topping was rich fruity and had a friendly kick of the spice to be wonderful the goose well we followed the recipe not realizing it was for with skin (ours were skinless) came out really tough and more gamy than we would like. Next time we will likely marinade it, then sear it at a higher temp for a shorter time before tossing it in the oven. Overall goose does not seem to be a forgiving game bird so we have a steep learning curve but it does have potential to be a rich tender dish for special occasions.
4 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Kate - Mixed Spice is a British blend of cinnamon, allspice, coriander and ginger. I think it is quite similar to pumpkin spice mix or gingerbread spice mixed that is popular in other countries. So you can use one of those if it's available, or else mix cinnamon with coriander and a little allspice.
4 months ago
This sounds wonderful for some goose breasts we were given but we've never had or even cooked goose breast before the only question I have in this recipe is the 'spice mix' could you elaborate on what that is?
4 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Oh, you're so fortunate, Jessica! 18 wild geese, fabulous! And I'm very happy my recipe came in handy. Thank you!
8 months ago
I finally got around to trying this with your suggested modification (I know, things are a bit disorganised here) and it is SO good -- DH who is a very picky eater says this is the best thing I've done with goose breast so far! Have bookmarked and will definitely make this again. (We were gifted the breasts of 18 wild geese, so we have plenty more to eat yet!)
8 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Josh - Mixed Spice is a British blend of mainly cinnamon, allspice, coriander and ginger. I think it is quite similar to pumpkin spice mix or gingerbread spice mixed that is popular in other countries. So you can use one of those if it's available, or else mix cinnamon with coriander and a little allspice.
9 months ago
Recipe sounds great! What types of spices do you use for this? It doesn't specify
9 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Jessica - you probably want to sear them briefly in the frying pan on both sides, then roast in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes (depending on how large they are) at lower temperature: 180C/350F/gas 4. Hope this helps!
2 years ago
This looks really good but I've got some skinless wild goose breasts -- how would you modify the recipe for that?
2 years ago

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