Like most celebrations in Germany, and especially during the winter months, St. Martin's Day honoring the life of Martin of Tours on November 11 involves food.
As a religious festival coinciding with the young wine from Germany's wine growing regions ready for drinking, and geese not only being a symbol for St. Martin but also plentiful because of their annual autumn migration, roast goose accompanied by red cabbage, dumplings and wine is the country's traditional "Sankt Martinstag" supper. Martinsgans.
With the chestnuts first introduced to Germany by the conquering Romans, and plentiful in Cologne because "Colonia" as they named it was one of the leading Roman settlement areas, despite its name this roast goose recipe is not only saved for St. Martins Day. A regional specialty from Köln, Cologne, the largest city alongside the River Rhine, it is a classic Christmas and New Year favorite; as well as one of those meals served on special occasions.
Kölner Martinsgans - Cologne St. Martins Roast Goose
Roast goose with dumplings (Klöße)
1 Prepared 3.5 kg (approx 8 lb) Goose
For the Stuffing:
500 gr. (approx 1 lb) Chestnuts (can be vacuum packed with no problem, and it is possible to use canned but the flavor is not quite the same)
3 Tart Apples
100 gr. (approx 4 oz) Raisins
1/4 liter (approx 1/2 pint) red wine
First prepare the stuffing
With a knife make a slash in the chestnuts so they don't burst, roast in preheated oven at about 400 degrees F for 20 minutes until the shells begin to open at the cut, cool and remove shells.
Peel the apples, divide into quarters, remove seeds and core then cut into thin slices.
Mix the chestnuts and apple slices together with the raisins.
Wash the cavity and outside of the goose thoroughly, dry well and rub a mixture of salt, pepper and marjoram into the skin and cavity lining.
Stuff the goose with the chestnut mixture and sew the opening shut.
Prick all over with a fork and place, breast facing downwards, in a roasting pan. Using the fat that drains from the bird to baste regularly, leave in a preheated 390 Fahrenheit, 200 degree Celsius, oven for one hour.
Turn so the breast faces upwards and continue roasting for a further 30 minutes.
The goose is cooked when the juices from the thickest part of its leg run clear after being pricked; any pink tinge to the liquid means it needs a little longer cooking time.
Separate the goose fat from the stock in the roasting pan and put it to one side to be used another day.
To make the sauce: take stock remaining in the pan and while stirring to dissolve the sediment add the red wine.
Bring to the boil, taste for seasoning adding a little water if a milder flavor is desired. For a thicker sauce add corn starch or a roux. Simmer for two or three minutes and serve separately from a pre-warmed dish.
A goose has a large and heavy carcass so plan on the uncooked weight of the goose to be 1 lb for each person, and don't forget to rescue the wishbone; after all when pulled by two people until it breaks whoever has the largest piece can make a wish...and who knows it might even come true.
There are some quite complicated recipes for both Potato Dumplings and for Red Cabbage, but these are two very quick and easy but tasty recipes.
Potato Dumplings - Kartoffelklöße
4 large or 6 medium potatoes, boiled and cooled
100 gr, 7/8 cup, self raising flour
1 tsp salt
Optional 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Chicken or vegetable stock for cooking (can be stock cube)
Mash potatoes or pass through ricer until smooth
Mix the eggs, salt, flour, and nutmeg if used, until well blended then add to potatoes
Knead mixture until thoroughly combined
Take pieces of the dough and with flour covered hands roll into golf ball sized dumplings
Drop dumplings into boiling stock and boil gently in half covered saucepan for about 10 minutes
Remove carefully with slotted spoon and drain. Place into warmed dish and serve.
Red Cabbage Recipe - Rotkohl
1 medium red cabbage (about 1.1/4 to 1.1/2 lbs)
1 large tart apple
1 medium white onion
Juice from half a lemon
3 tbsp cane or brown sugar
4 tbsp red wine vinegar, (balsamic is also good if there is any left over from summer salad dressings)
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Black pepper
Peel apple and onion and chop finely
Using a sharp knife shred cabbage into thin slices
Saute onion in the olive oil in ovenproof pan until beginning to turn gold
Add shredded cabbage and apple, stir well and remove from heat
Combine lemon juice, sugar, wine vinegar, water, salt and pepper, pour over cabbage mixture and mix thoroughly
Cover and place in preheated oven for two hours at 320 degrees F, 160 C.
Caraway seeds can be sprinkled over the red cabbage before serving, and/or chunks of fresh apple, and it can be served hot or allowed to go cold and used as an accompaniment to cold cuts.
Guten Appetit!and enjoy your traditional German Roast Goose.
Photo Roasted goose with dumplings(Kloesse), and red cabbage courtesy EkkiO1, Bavarian potato dumplings cooking courtesy Afrank99 via de.Wikipedia, Cut Red Cabbage courtesy Aimee Justice, via en.Wikipedia