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Monday, October 17, 2011



OCast ansarino, ansanrino, L. anser, Eng. goose. During the 15th C, Villena indicates they were abundant in Aragon and frequently served at meals. More than a dozen species wintered in Spain arriving in October and leaving at the end of February. Villena states that they should be carved in the same way as peacock but the sternum should not be cut into two parts. Avenzoar advised that geese and ducks have the same properties as cranes but more pronounced, see grulla. All these birds, he continued ‘are recommended for those suffering from prostration and hemiplegia, but they are harmful for people of a warm nature. They are digested with difficulty, especially during the summer season.’ Classical physicians customarily recommended that the throat of the fowl be slit and then hung with the feathers still on for a few hours before cooking. This procedure was recommended for digestion to be as rapid as possible for they thought this was this like yeast added to bread in that it facilitated digestion. [Anón/Grewe. 1982:LXII:105-106:LXIII:107:LXXVIIII:116-117 etc; Anón/Huici. 1966:48:38:229:139:105:72-73 etc; Baena/Dutton. 1993:367:643:4v; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:52; Nola. 1989:xxiii-2:xliii-1:lv-2; and Villena/Clavero. 2002:22b:26a]

for 6 persons

1 goose (9-11 lbs )

4 tsp anise
½ tsp cloves
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp fennel seeds
*1 tbsp murri
1 tbsp cilantro juice
½ c crushed almonds
1 tbsp onion juice
12 eggs (the original recipe calls for 25 but eggs were smaller in the Middle Ages)
¼ c whole pine nuts
1 pinch of salt
2 sprigs chopped mint
2 sprigs chopped fennel
¼ c pistachios
2 tsp olive oil

After the breast is stuffed top the stuffing with:
5 hard boiled egg yolks

Coating for breast:
5 egg whites
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 pinch of salt

Top that with:
1 c olive oil
*1 tbsp macerated murri

Seasoning for the rest of the meat:
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp vinegar
4 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cilantro juice
*1 tbsp macerated murri
3 sprigs rue chopped
1 tbsp onion juice

½ lb lamb
1 tsp chopped thyme
½ tsp chopped cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 egg whites

to bread meat:
4 eggs
½ breadcrumbs
½ flour

garnish for breaded meat and meatballs:
3 hard boiled egg yolks
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chopped cloves
½ tsp nutmeg

garnish for goose breast:
½ c toasted almonds
¼ c toasted pine nuts
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp anise
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp rosewater


Slit the throat of a goose and inflate it, then pluck it. Remove the entrails and intestines, after cleaning them well chop them. Put the spices in a food processor and grind them into powder. Add them to the entrails with the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Beat all this and stuff the goose's skin with it.

Remove the breast from the body of the goose. Remove the meat from the breastbone. Remove the skin leave it intact and pound the meat. Cover it 5 egg whites, pepper and cinnamon beaten together. Put it in boiling water until stiff.  Remove it from the water, pat dry and cover it with the stuffing. Put egg yolks in the middle of the stuffing. Cover the breast with the skin and sew it up to prevent the stuffing from oozing out.

Beat the ingredients for coating the goose together and paint the skin adding boiling water until it thickens.

Sliced Goose Breast

Photo by: by Another Pint Please...

Preheat oven to 350º F / 175º C

Place the breast in a tajine or pot. Top it with oil and murri mixed with a little water and put it in the oven. Baste frequently, every 20 minutes or so with the pan juices. Cook until browned, about 1 hour.

Then take the rest of the goose meat chop it into bite size pieces removing the bones and skin. Put it in a pot and top it with spices and other seasonings. Cook it until it is done.

Grind lamb or mutton, season and add egg whites; make meatballs the size of hazelnuts. Take the goose meat out of the pot and cook the meatballs it.

When the meatballs are cooked, bread the goose meat that was cooked in the pan by dipping it into a mixture of 4 beaten eggs, then breadcrumbs and finally flour.  Return the meat to the pot. Pour the leftover eggs, breadcrumbs and flour over this. Remove the pot from the heat and leave it on the hearth until the dough wrinkles. 

Place it with the meatballs in a serving dish and dot it with chopped egg yolks and sprinkle spices on top.

Put the breast in another dish and garnish with toasted almonds and pine nuts. Cut it in half and sprinkle it with fine spices. Sprinkle with rosewater and serve.

*See almorí macerado for recipe.


  1. A good deal of work, very apt for Christmas with a lot of people in the kitchen...
    You may believe me or not: today, november 9th, I was in the kitchen (I live quite in the centre of Madrid) and I heard a strange sound: I look out of the window and I see a flock of geese migrating to the south!

  2. Goose is a favorite Christmas meat in Spain as they come to winter there anywhere from late October through January. One January, some friends put grain on the island in the middle of a small pond they have behind their home outside Madrid. One evening there was a full moon. All of a sudden we spotted a flock of geese that looked like there were circling the moon. They flew around it and down to the island. They liked their dinner so much they stayed for breakfast and then stayed forever. Over Easter we could not get near them for the ganders form an impenetrable guard around their wives sitting on eggs or their wives and chicks of whom they are very proud!

  3. A beautiful story, and almost a Japanese drawing! I wonder if any of these birds ended in the recipe... Anyways, I don't agree that goose is very popular in Spain at Christmas: I have never eaten it in my life, never heard of anybody that did, nor seen it in markets or supermarkets (at least in Madrid). Instead, for a Polish friend of mine, it is almost sinonimous with Christmas (something I don't quite undertand since these birds migrate from Northern Europe, as you say).

  4. Right you are as always. Supermarkets in Madrid rarely offer geese. In the 15th C estates such as the one mentioned above were more prone to have geese and as Villena indicates those in Aragon especially those on the Mediterranean Coast.