From Morecambe Bay shrimps and Chorley cakes to hot pots and butter pies, Lancashire is blessed with some of the best food in the country.
To celebrate the best from the county’s natural larder, the Evening Post is teaming up with Booths for a monthly feature looking at what is in season and how to get the most out of it. As things get festive, we give you three goose and Brussels sprout recipes guaranteed to delight lovers and sceptics alike.
For centuries, goose, with its rich meat, was the traditional Christmas treat. But in recent years, it has been relegated in favour of its more boring cousin, the turkey.
Well, we want to bring this mighty bird back to the festive feast so we’ve partnered it with the obligatory Christmas favourite, the Brussels sprout, and put together three recipes to help you get the most out of these two great Lancashire ingredients.
From Vietnamese curries to hearty soups, these ingredients are more versatile than you might think and to help us celebrate them we’ve teamed up with Booths the supermarket to get our hands on the best produce from their suppliers Reg Johnson and Bud Swarbrick, who raise geese from their Ribble Valley farm, and farmer Alan Buck, who grows Brussels sprouts from his farm in Hesketh Bank.
Roast Goosnargh goose, cider gravy and sprouts
4-5kg oven-ready goose
5 onions, halved
For the cider gravy:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, chopped
500ml bottle cider
1l chicken or veg stock
For the sprouts :
Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
200ml chicken stock.
Heat oven to highest setting. Stuff the goose with the onions and herbs and season with salt. Score the skin in a criss cross pattern to help fat render down better. Roast for about 2 hours, turning down the heat after 10 mins to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
Pour off the excess fat every 30 minutes (you should get about a litre of fat) and baste regularly. You may need to cover with foil towards the end it is getting too crispy.
To make the gravy, fry giblets in a saucepan until browned. Add the carrots and onions and fry for about 10 minutes. Throw in the herbs, then pour over the cider and boil down to a thick syrup. Pour in the stock, reduce by half, then strain into a large jug.
Once the goose has come out of the tin, drain off remaining fat but keeping any brown juices. Place the tin on the heat, scatter in the flour and stir to make a paste. Pour in the cider stock and stir to make a smooth gravy.
For the sprouts, simply fry the bacon bits in a touch of the reserved goose fat, until crispy. Remove and set aside. Add halved sprouts. Fry for a couple of minutes before adding the hot stock. Cover quickly to steam. Give them about seven or eight minutes. Serve with the bacon.
Vietnamese-style Goosnargh Goose
For the marinade: 2tsp palm sugar, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp garlic, 2 tbsp fish sauce, pinch chilli flakes, 1tbl ginger grated
4 tsp sugar
300g leftover goose
400ml coconut milk
Marinade goose in Palm sugar, salt, pepper, fish sauce, garlic, chilli flakes, and ginger. Set aside.
Make a caramel by adding the sugar to a saucepan. Heat over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar begins to melt and become a golden brown colour. Add stock to the sugar and bring to the boil.
Add coconut milk. Simmer for a few minutes.
Add vegetables and goose. Heat through. Check the seasoning. You may need to add more fish sauce if it is too sweet; or more sugar if it is too salty. Top with coriander and serve with rice .
Sprout, Celeriac and Bacon Soup
Knob of butter
1 onion, chopped
One celeriac, cubed
700ml vegetable stock
200g Brussels sprouts, sliced
Fry bacon bits in a dry pan until crispy. Remove and set aside. Add a little butter to the bacon fat and sweat onions until they go a nice, golden colour. Add celeriac and sweat for about 10 minutes to soften. Add the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the celeriac is tender. Add the sprouts, return to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes more. Blend until smooth. Add the milk and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the bacon.
Reg Johnson and Bud Swarbrick
Reg Johnson has been raising Goosnargh geese, chicken and ducks at Swainson House on the edge of the Ribble Valley with his step-brother, Bud Swarbrick, since the 1960s. In that time, they’ve won enough awards to fill one of their barns. Now you’ll find them adorning the menu in Michelin-starred restaurants. The secret of their success? A cool climate, careful feeding on home-grown crops, slow rearing and then dry-plucking for an extra crispy skin.
“An unhappy bird is a tough bird. A happy bird is a tasty bird”, says Reg. “We care about the animals on our farm, so we make sure they’re happy and have a good life.”
They’re one of the only farms in the country that grow and mix the food for their animals on their own land. This is the farm where the birds live in small flocks with twice the amount of recommended living space. It’s the farm where the animals are never in a vehicle for longer than nine minutes. Where they’re dry-plucked for a crispier skin and hung to develop their flavour.
Alan and James Buck
For three generations, the Buck family have grown vegetables at Ribble View Farm in Hesketh Bank, supplying cabbages to Booths for more than 10 years. As the festive season approaches, Alan Buck and his brother James are hard at work growing the humble Brussels sprout on the fertile land around the Ribble Estuary. Dating back to the 13th century, the mighty Brussels sprouts account for a third of the farm’s business.
Grower Alan Buck explains: “Brussels are one of my favourite vegetables – I eat them at least once a week and can’t get enough of them, but when they are cooked incorrectly I can understand why people don’t want to try them.”