Garth McColgan serves up this traditional Christmas dinner with a twist!


  • vodka cherries:
  • 100 ml vodka
  • 2 tblsp orange juice
  • 0.5 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 strips orange zest
  • 50 ml blackcurrant juice
  • 250 g cherries (stoned)
  • roast goose:
  • 1 fresh whole goose (4kg – 4.8kg approx)
  • 1 tblsp sea salt
  • 2 onions (halved)
  • 2 bulbs of garlic (cut across the width)
  • pecan and thyme stuffing:
  • 6 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 6 shallots (thinly sliced)
  • 200 g smoked streaky bacon (cut into bits)
  • 3 tblsp fresh thyme (roughly chopped)
  • 200 g pecan nuts (crushed)
  • 500 g breadcrumbs
  • 600 g sausage meat
  • 0.5 tsp crushed black pepper


  • Vodka cherries: Put the first five ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cherries, then leave to cool. Reheat before serving.
  • Roast Goose: Pierce the skin of the bird all over with a knife and rub 1 tablespoon of sea salt into the skin. Stuff the cavity of the bird with the halved onions and bulbs of garlic, then stud the skin evenly with the cloves.
  • Pre heat your oven to 180°C. Put the goose onto a baking tray and roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, and with a tablespoon baste the goose with the juices from the baking tray. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 150°C and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes. Take the bird out of the oven and raise the temperature to 220°C. Baste the goose again with the juices from the tray, and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is up, remove the bird from the oven and cover with tin foil. Allow the bird to rest for 25 minutes before carving.
  • Tip: To test when the Goose is cooked pierce the thickest part of the leg with a skewer, when ready the juices should run clear.
  • Pecan and thyme stuffing: Once the goose goes into the oven you can start putting the stuffing together. Cook the bacon bits in a pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and shallot and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Put the bacon mixture and all the other ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Roll the stuffing into 20 evenly sized balls and put onto a baking tray.
  • When you reduce the goose cooking temperature down to 150°C put the stuffing balls on to a roasting tray and pour over half the baking juices from the goose.
  • Put stuffing balls into the oven. When you increase the temperature of the oven to 220°C turn the stuffing balls in the baking tray to ensure even cooking.
  • To serve: Carve the goose and serve with two or three stuffing balls and some vodka cherries on the side.
christmas family dinners mains entertaining