Sheepdrove organic goose

There is no getting away from it. Eating meat means taking a life.

I understand the horror vegetarians feel. I love vegan cuisine.

But I am a meat eater. Maybe once a week. I can feel the nutritional value it brings to my body.

If I were a hunter – I imagine – I would kill the animal, and lie down and cry because I had killed it. (I saw this on TV once). Then eat it. Hopefully with reverence.

But I could be romanticising.

The fact is I cannot square killing for food.

At least I can make sure the animal was well looked-after while alive.

Which is why I choose organic meat.

On Christmas day, we cooked and ate a goose from Sheepdrove Organic Farm.

Declaration of interest: I work with Sheepdrove Organic Farm. But – you know me – I can only work with a cause or company I believe in.

Check out Sheepdrove Organic Farm. Lots of great info on its website: including the importance of grass-fed creatures and Eating less meat? Eat better meat!

Sheepdrove Organic Farm’s head butcher, Nick Rapps, is passionate about showing people how to eat organic meat in a budget.

For instance, buy cheaper organic cuts (not pre-cut packages) from an actual butcher who can provide the unusual cheaper cuts. Cheaper cuts need slower cooking.

Nick Rapps’s The Organic Butcher’s Blog at Food Magazine is a treasure trove of tips. Here’s Nick on the organic Christmas turkey on a budget.

My sister, Geraldine, cooked our Christmas goose.

Listen-up. True to our ancestors, she is a real food lover.

My sister said: “How did I cook the goose? It was good, wasn’t it? And simple to cook. I rubbed salt and pepper and fresh grated ginger on the skin. Then scrunched wet greaseproof paper, smoothed it out and covered the goose. The formula is 20 minutes per pound on a low heat roughly 150/Gas Mark 2/300  and 20 minutes over. Our goose took about 5 hours. Regularly,  pour fat off the roasting pan (and keep it later for roasting veg) otherwise the goose fat will overfill the pan. Most importantly, let it “rest” a good half-an-hour after taking it out the oven.”

We served the Sheepdrove goose with an array of colourful vegetables, cooked by other members of the family so not one person did all the work.

Red cabbage and apples, squash and coconut, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, gravy.

PS I lost my ‘phone over Christmas. However – curiously – on the day I lost my ‘phone, I sent a picture of our Christmas meal (above) to myself. Which was lucky as I had not backed up my images since November so the Christmas meal pic would have been lost. Funny, eh?

17 responses to “Sheepdrove organic goose

  1. This all sounds delicious, reflections and the food. Can I join you for Xmas lunch next year?

    Your friend and supporter,

    Sharon xxx


  2. My mother always has goose for Christmas dinner and whichever lucky diners she’s chosen to invite always rave about it. Something about the grass fed, free ranging well looked after bit that obviously makes a difference. As a vegetarian, I get mock goose, but I don’t object to the fellow carnivores. I would hate the idea of a vegan world, especially here in the South West where grass grows best. I do object, however, to factory farmed non-free ranging animal farming. Eat less of better quality meat and everyone, including the environment would benefit.


  3. Happy New Year to you!! This sounds great Elisabeth. Yes, to enjoy goose, it should be slow cooked and your method seems perfect. I bet a good time was enjoyed by all.
    PS: my website is off the radar as it crashed on Friday and am getting it back, hopefully within the next couple of days, if not am completely lost!! Shall update you.


  4. I’m with you about killing and eating. It never feels totally right but it doesn’t stop me eating the stuff. I did kill a mackerel once and grilled and ate it within three hours (I shared it with your Geraldine) and it was absolutely delicious. On the boat, I bashed it on the head and it wriggled like mad, so in the end I cut its head off which had absolutely no effect – it carried on just the same. A large gull was mooching around so I threw it the head and guts which it gobbled down – so at least nothing was wasted.
    I like Sheepdrove. I bought a pork belly there intending to cook it to a Marcus Wareing recipe that involved removing the skin (for separate cooking). The butcher was mortified that anyone would want to do such a thing but he prepared it just the same. It was noticeably very good meat.
    I have no declaration of interest to declare by the way – just a punter.


  5. wow Elisabeth! your goose sounds amazing and i’m sure it tasted that way too. thanks for the info on Sheepdrove. I too only eat organic meat about once a week but am happy for more info on how to eat it on a budget.


    • That is super, Shivani. Info on how to eat organic meat on a budget will wing its way to you. Or see Nick Rapps’s blog here.

      Or why not pop into Sheepdrove Organic Farm butcher’s shop off the top of Whiteladies Road? Nick and all the staff are so expert, friendly and helpful. The shops number is 0117 973 4643. Let me know how you get on!


  6. What a shame it was that the actual Sheepdrove Farm produced no geese or turkeys this Christmas; and I’m still missing their chicken and pork too since they closed down the production of that.


  7. This is a prime example of where good raw ingredients need little help, just seasoning and slow cooking to enhance the flavours. Shop where the butcher reveres his/her product, Not like the day I asked a certain butcher where did the duck come from? A pond, he blinked. I didn’t return. Like Elisabeth, I like happy meat, and prefer to eat good meat less often. I hate the idea of mass meat production. Now that is showing contempt, and the meat does not taste good.

    No body parts were wasted in the Marcus Wareing recipe by the way, and it was delicious.


  8. I’m a vegetarian and some years ago I moved to Wales and bought a piece of land there. It taught me a lot about sustainability, in that what really grew well there was grass and slugs. So if you eat geese, eggs, sheep, goat and milk from the last two, you can live well on a small piece of land. the older smallholdings there of 5-10 acres used to support a family each. In wet northern climates, if you want to live close to the land and in a sustainable way, then eating meat and animal products can be a really important part of that.


    • Hi Joe

      Yes, keeping animals for milk and eggs (and eventually meat) – and also for pest control – seems to be the traditional way of being self-sufficient.

      It sounds as if the Welsh smallholding experience has changed your views on eating meat. But since you describe yourself as a vegetarian, I guess you still do not eat meat?

      Thanks for commenting. I continue to veer from carnivore to veggie and back again!



  9. I do agree with you about eating less meat but of sound provenance. It is what I try to do and the same goes for milk & eggs too.
    I have a dilemma though in that I have to teach cookery to a group of young mums and I have a very limited budget with which to do it. Should I feature economy meat which they are likely to buy or do veggie food which they may never have tried before??!!


    • I would teach familiar-ish recipes that use a little bit of meat, or different versions of familiar recipes. So veggie lasagne, maybe; a stew with lots of veg and a little bit of meat (and dumplings!); stir fries that can be made with veg or meat; Mexican wraps filled with refried beans, cheese, veg and a bit of meat; and so on.
      If you haven’t got a lot of time or money, then food without too much meat in it is a good thing anyway – less fuss in the preparation and it costs less too.


    • I would be interested to know how you resolve this, Laura.

      My feeling is that you have to start from where people are.

      And: It is a fine line between sounding-off about poor food quality and sounding snooty and judgemental.

      I know I hate the feeling I am inducing guilt in others.

      So I would probably start with economy meat but show people how a little can go along way. Some economy meat is better than others. For instance you cannot factory-farm sheep (thank goodness).

      I might make a price comparison between cheap chicken breasts (1 meal) and organic/free-range whole chicken (6 meals). And a health comparison: more unhealthy fat on cheap chickens. More healthy fat on natural-fed chickens.

      As we know, the best way to eat healthily on a budget is to cook from scratch.

      So any advice and tips you give on cooking from scratch will be worth their weight in gold.


  10. If you’re working on a budget meat should be seen as an ingredient rather than the point of the meal and there’s lots of cheaper meat that can be used as a basis for one (eg lamb neck in a navarin).
    I completely agree about chicken. Jointing one is very simple and once you’ve done that, you can make just about anything. I was cooking a meal at Christmas that needed 6 breasts and I bought three chickens instead. I’m still using the non-breast meat and stock even now.
    We’d better start to get used to eating less meat, according to last night’s news, it’s going to get very expensive, so creative use of it is going to be increasingly important. The problem is that many children were brought up on ready meals and so confidence in basic kitchen skills is often pretty low. Time for fewer food porn programmes on TV and more on good everyday cooking and management of a family food budget.


  11. Hi,
    Great post!
    I love Sheepdrove’s meat.


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