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Make this year an old-fashioned Christmas feast with this festive roast. 

The holidays are upon us, and with them, the stress, er, pleasure, rather, of planning an excellent Christmas feast. While in many homes, a ham is traditional, some prefer seafood, and there’s no shortage of turkey, sometimes it’s nice to really push out the boat and make a Christmas goose recipe. Goose conjures images of an old-fashioned Christmas—even just the words “Christmas goose” make us feel festive. So, if you’ve gone to the time and trouble and expense to source a good, juicy bird, you’ll want to make sure that you prepare it in a way that maximizes its potential. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck relying on side dishes and dinner rolls—and no host or hostess wants that on Christmas. (But for an all-around crowd-pleasing meal, you’ll definitely want to have a glance at our favorite sides and rolls—not that we think you’ll mess up your goose.)

Here, a few tips to make sure that your bird is the word:

  • Marinate your goose for maximum flavor. Whether that means a rub and a marinade, or just a marinade itself, start this in the morning so the bird has plenty of time in the bath.
  • Roast your goose in a very shallow water bath, which will allow the fat that renders to float to the top.
  • Make sure to remove the fat that renders off of your goose from the pan. DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY. It is wonderful on potatoes, vegetables, and pretty much anything else you can think of; if you want to save it, you can freeze it into ice cube trays.
  • Be sure to cook your goose until the thermometer (yes, you’ll need a thermometer) reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Safety first.
  • Stuff iit–or not? The stuffing question is much like with a turkey: wildly divisive. If you want to stuff, stuff, if not, don’t.
  • Decide for yourself. Some goose recipes call for a low-and-slow heat, some for a hotter heat up front, and then a reduction. Find the recipe that you feel most comfortable with, and keep in mind that oven space is precious on Christmas day, so you may want to consider this when choosing side dishes.

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  • Consider using aromatics, many enjoy in-season citrus (such as orange) and herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage. Go with what you like. This is your goose.
  • Enjoy the amazing smell as the cooking bird infuses your kitchen with delicious smells. There isn’t any scented candle in the world that can, well, hold a candle to the smell of a roasting goose.