Roasted Goose – Weihnachtsgans

The Weihnachtsgans, or “Christmas goose”, is a traditional Christmas dinner in Germany and neighbouring countries. According to legend, when St. Martin of Tours was to be made a bishop, he was reluctant to do so. As a result, he decided to hide so none could find him and make him a bishop. Unfortunately for him, he decided to hide in a stable filled with geese. Alarmed by the stranger in their midst, the geese all anxiously vocalized, and thus betrayed his location to those who were looking for him. And so, in commemoration of this, roasted goose, today called Martinsgans, was served in commemoration of St. Martin’s Day, celebrated on November the 11th. Roasted goose eventually became part of Christmas feasts as well due to its proximity to advent and became what is today known as Weihnachtsgans.


1 goose
1 kg (2.2 lbs) onions
1 kg (2.2 lbs) tart apples
250 g (9 oz) carrots
250 g (9 oz) celery
1 L (4 ¼ cups) of broth
1 bottle red wine
1 packet mugwort
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
potato dumplings
red cabbage (canned or jarred)
chestnuts (any kind)


Rub goose well with salt, pepper and mugwort, inside and out. Stuff with one pound of chopped apples and one pound of peeled and chopped onions to good portion of sagebrush.

Place goose in large saucepan and pour in water; water should be 3.8 to 5 cm (1.5 to 2 inches) high. Place covered pot in baking oven at 120°C (248°F), regularly checking roast. After about one hour, carefully take out roast. Drain and keep water with extruded goose fat and put goose aside.

Next, put rest of finely cut apples, chopped onion, peeled carrot, and chopped celery into pot. Pour half of meat broth and red wine into pot, put goose back into pot, cover it, and place roast in oven again.

Heat oven to 150°Celsius (300°F) and leave for 2 to 3 hours regularly checking and basting goose with broth from bottom of pot. Pay however much attention needs to be paid to goose roast.

When goose seems done, prick gently into goose; when juice that comes out is almost clear in colour, it is nearly done. Remove pan from oven, carefully put goose aside, strain sauce from pot through sieve, and put in a smaller pot on stove. When done, put goose back into large roasting pan and back into oven heated to 180° C (360°F) with top heat and barbecue function to crisp.

Deglaze sauce on stove top to taste. Thicken with small amount of flour and butter, then bring to a boil. When goose is crisped to taste, take it out and remove filling which will have become too fatty to eat. Serve.

Goose is served on a large plate, usually with potatoes, dumplings, red cabbage, and chestnut sauce on the side, and is carved at the table.