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What you need:

For the goose
1 x 5kg/11lb oven-ready goose
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 bay leaves, plus extra for garnish
3 small red apples (such as Cox or Discovery), cut in half horizontally
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
For the stock
goose giblets
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped into 2cm/¾in pieces
1 celery stick, chopped into roughly 2cm/¾ pieces
2 bay leaves
small bunch fresh thyme
For the apple and sage stuffing
2 tbsp goose fat (reserved from cooking the goose)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 medium-sized cooking apple, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra sage leave to garnish
1 goose liver (optional)
100g/3½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
500g/1lb 2oz good-quality sausage meat
For the cider gravy
2 heaped tbsp plain flour
300ml/10fl oz giblet stock (see above)
250ml/9fl oz dry cider

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
Place the goose on a rack over a large sturdy roasting tin and prick with a skewer a few times down each side just below the wing. Season the goose well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Put the quartered onion and 3 bay leavers into the goose body cavity and cover the legs with folded triangles of foil. Roast the goose for one hour, then take it out of the oven and put on a board. Carefully drain the fat from the roasting tin into a large heatproof bowl.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.

Cook the goose for another hour, removing the foil after 30 minutes so the legs can brown. (If your goose is very fatty, you may need to remove it from the oven and drain the fat one more time during the last hour of cooking.)

To test when the goose is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer, then press the skewer against the leg and check the juices that run out. When the goose is cooked, the juices should run clear.
Remove the goose from the oven and transfer to a warmed serving platter. Cover loosely with foil and a couple of dry tea towels. Leave to rest for 25-30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7.

Meanwhile, for the stock and stuffing, separate the liver from the rest of the giblets. Pat dry on kitchen paper and cut into small pieces, discarding any sinew or damaged parts. Put in a small bowl, cover and chill until ready to use.

Put the rest of the giblets into a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, celery stick, bay leaves, thyme and seasoning. Pour over 1 litre/1¾ pints water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1¼ hours. Cover with a lid for the final 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a measuring jug.

For the stuffing: heat two tablespoons of the reserved fat in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onions for five minutes, or until softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Scatter the apple into the pan with the onion and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes, or until lightly carameslised. Add the goose liver and fry for a further 1-2 minutes until browned. Place the mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Stir in the breadcrumbs, sausage meat and sage to the onions, apple and liver once cooked. Season with lots of salt and pepper and mix well. Grease a 20cm x 30cm/8in x 12in shallow baking tin with a little more of the reserved goose fat. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the tin and spread evenly. Cover and chill until ready to bake.

Place the eating apples alongside the stuffing balls. Brush the cut-side of each apple with a little more oil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the stuffing is golden-brown and cooked through.

For the gravy: hold the roasting tin with a dry tea towel at one end, so all the cooking juices run to the corner. Remove as much of the goose fat as possible,
Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and stir in the flour until thoroughly combined. Slowly stir in the cider and the goose stock. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly and scraping up the sediment from the bottom of the pan. Pour into a saucepan and return to a simmer, stirring with a whisk to break up any floury lumps. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally then season with plenty of salt and pepper. Strain though a fine sieve into a warmed jug.

Remove the tea towel and foil from the goose. Place the apples around the goose and garnish with a few sage or bay leaves. Serve the stuffing and gravy with the goose at the table.

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What you need:

1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 clove garlic
1tbsp olive oil
500g (1¼lb) lamb mince
1tbsp plain flour
1tbsp tomato purée
275ml (9fl oz) meat or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black papper
450g (1lb) potatoes
200ml (7fl oz) milk, hot
50g (2oz) butter
white pepper

What to do:

Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Then place in a pan with the olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes over a medium heat.

Add the lamb mince and break up well with a wooden spoon; cook until it is browned. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well, add the tomato purée, stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and pepper, mix well, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Peel the potatoes and cut into even-sized pieces, cover with hot water and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain when cooked, return to the pan and shake over a low heat to steam off excess moisture.

Remove from the heat and crush with a potato masher until smooth, add hot milk, butter and white pepper and beat until fluffy and well blended.

Heat the oven to Gas 5, 190°C, fan170°C. Remove bay leaf from the meat and place the meat in an ovenproof dish. Carefully spoon the mashed potato onto the mix and use a fork to spread the potato over the top, sealing in the meat and making a stripey pattern.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until top of the potato is slightly golden.

Top tip
Try sprinkling some grated cheese evenly over the mashed potato for a change, or chop some parsley and sprinkle over the shepherd’s pie before serving for an attractive finish.

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