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What's in Season - December

What's in Season - December

What’s in Season - December

Seasonal eating means two things really: building meals around foods that have just been harvested at their peak - and adjusting your diet to meet the particular health challenges of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. 

While it may seem like a luxury to have any food we want, anytime we want it, eating foods in season offers many benefits.
Simple joys 
For starters, it connects us to the calendar reminding us of simple joys - the first taste of Asparagus in Spring, the smell of ripe Strawberries newly picked in Summer, Apple picking on a clear Autumn day, celebrating Winter holidays with hearty, warming meals

Tastes Better
In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter - when perfectly ripe. 
When fruits and vegetables are picked for consumption that have been naturally ripened on the vine or the tree and harvested at the right time, they will have much more flavour and nutrition.  

More vitamins, minerals and antioxidants 
Produce eaten at its peak generally has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods harvested before they’re ripe and then shipped long distances. 

Eat a more well-rounded and balanced diet 
A pleasant added benefit of eating what's in season is that you get a broader variety of foods in your diet. Those foods can broaden your palate, for one, but they may also expose you to dishes and ingredients you may not have otherwise explored. 
Supports small and midsize Farmers
Eating seasonally often means eating locally grown foods, so it’s good for the environment too. It supports small and midsize local farmers, cuts down on pollution from shipping and transporting food and reduces your carbon footprint. 
Saves you money 
And if all that’s not enough to get you to make some simple switches in your diet, In-season foods will usually save you money.

Time to eat Seasonal
Each meat, fruit or vegetable has a prime time when it is at its seasonal best - and they tend to complement each other. That means extra flavour, extra crunch, extra juiciness - all super-fresh and great value.
And so here is what is in season - and most popular - in December - to help you eat seasonally: 

Leaves and Stems : Globe Artichoke, Swiss Chard, Savoy Cabbage, Red Cabbage, White Cabbage, Celery, Chicory, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lambs Lettuce, Pak Choi, Radicchio, Brussels Sprouts

Flowers, Fruits and Seeds : Runner Beans, Cauliflower, Spring Onions, Peas, Pumpkins
Roots and Bulbs :  Beetroot, Carrots, Celeriac, Horseradish, Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Salsify, Shallots, Turnips

Tubers :
 Potatoes - main crop, Sweet Potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes

Meats :  Beef, Lamb, Pork, Wild Mallard Duck, Goose, Grouse, Guinea Fowl Pheasant, Partridge, Wood Pigeon, Rabbit, Turkey, Venison.  

And here is just a summary of the main Meat Cuts that become popular in December:

Thrifty Cuts : Beef Flat Iron Steaks, Beef Fillet Tails, Bavette Steak, Shin of Beef, Beef Meatballs, Lamb Henry Steaks, Lamb Breast Roulade, Chicken Thighs, Marinated Chicken Skewers, Caramelised Red Onion Sausages, Pork and Leek Sausages, Gluten Free Toulouse Sausages, Directors Sausage Burgers, Loin of Pork Boneless, Bone in Belly of Pork, Unsmoked Boneless Gammon, Wild Rabbit

Roasts, Casseroles and Stews : Carvery Rib of Beef, Sirloin with Fillet, Topside of Beef, Mini Topside of Beef, Silverside of Beef, Rolled Brisket, Oxtail, Carvery Leg of Lamb, Rack of Lamb, Lamb Noisettes, Mini Noisette of Lamb, Special Reserve Chicken, Church Farm Chicken, Otter Valley Organic Chicken, Poussin, Chorizo Rosario Sausages, Merguez Sausages, Porchetta with Chorizo Roast, Pheasant, Partridge, Wild Mallard Duck, Wood Pigeon, Wild Rabbit, Venison Roast 

Seriously Low and Slow : Beef Picanha,Beef Short Ribs (Jacobs Ladder), Ox Cheeks, Lamb Neck Fillets, Lamb Middle Neck, Lamb Shanks, Smoked and Unsmoked Gammon, Pork Shoulder Bone in, Pigs Cheeks, Venison Saddle Eye, Beef Marrowbones, Pork Caul

Quicker Cooking : Rump Steaks, T-Bone Steaks, Beef T-Bone Florentine Steaks, 45 Day Dry Aged Beef Club Steaks, Marinated Rib eye Steaks, Hand Diced Beef, Master Steak Burgers, Calves Liver, French Trimmed Lamb Cutlets, Lamb Steaks, Lamb Henry Steaks, Hand Diced Lamb, Lamb Garlic Rosettes, Chicken Supremes, Handmade Chicken Kievs, Chinese Chicken Plum Parcels, Chicken Skewers, Chilli Chicken Sausages, Pork Steaks, Marinated Pork Ribs, Directors Sausage Burgers, Veal Escalopes, Barbary Duck Breasts, Venison Haunch Steaks

Every month we pick out one Seasonal product and explore a little more about how best to prepare it
This month we feature Goose

Geese are slowly making a culinary comeback, as chefs look to the past for inspiration. 

Dark, rich and sumptuous 
Goose meat is dark, rich and sumptuous. In taste and texture it holds certain similarities to Duck 
Goose meat is darker than Turkey meat, with a touch of gaminess. They are usually a little smaller than Turkeys, but with average birds weighing around 5-6kg, they are still big enough to comfortably feed a family of 6-8 people.

What to look for when buying Goose
Impeccable provenance and perfect truly Free Range stress-free and additive-free husbandry is everything - if you want to experience the real old fashioned taste of Goose

No signs of bruising 
We look for even coloured, off-white skin with no signs of bruising.

Cavity-to-meat ratio 
There isn’t as much meat on a Goose as you’d expect when you look at the size of it, because the cavity-to-meat ratio is much higher than a Turkey or Chicken - so choose your weight carefully
Fresh Goose will always be much tastier than frozen

The giblets 
Make sure that the giblets are removed from the Goose's cavity and put in the fridge. 
A small Goose comes in at 4.5kg and will feed four people. A Goose weighing 5 - 5.5kg will feed six to eight people, and an extra-large Goose weighing 6kg will feed eight or more.

How to cook Goose
The traditional way to cook Goose is to roast it - a process which will take at least a couple of hours - until the skin is crispy and the meat is cooked through. 

Cooking times 
Cooking times are affected by the size of the bird and whether or not it is filled with stuffing. 
Cut-down cooking times 
There are alternative methods which cut-down cooking times. Adam Byatt, for example, reduces oven time by just cooking the Crown,

Goose Legs and Thighs 
Goose Legs and Thighs can then be slowly braised. The Goose fat can be rendered after roasting or braising - skim away any impurities, strain the liquid through muslin, then store the Goose Fat for making Confit Goose Leg or the ultimate Roast Potatoes.

How to prepare a whole Goose 
There are two large lobes of fat just at the opening of the cavity which need to be pulled out before roasting and can be rendered down for frying or roasting. 

Melt slowly
To do this, melt them very slowly over a low heat, then cool, strain and keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Don’t forget that Poultry may contain a plastic bag of giblets, which must be removed before cooking. 

Neck and Gizzards 
The Neck and Gizzards make great stock for gravy and the Liver can be used to make Pâté, or pan-fried and enjoyed on toast.

A good layer of fat 
Like Duck, Goose has a good layer of fat under the skin which will come out of the bird during roasting. 
For this reason, it's best to pop it in the oven on a wire rack or on top of a trivet of vegetables, to lift it off the base of the roasting tin. 
This will allow the fat to drain into the tray below, which you can reserve for other recipes, such as delicious Roast Potatoes.

What goes well with Goose 
Goose is quite a rich and gamey bird, therefore fruit sauce is a great accompaniment. Apple Sauce, Plum Sauce or even a festive Cranberry Sauce sit happily alongside Goose on the plate. 
Don't shy away from Medieval sweet fruits either like Prunes, Figs, Currants, Chestnuts or Dried Apricots, for a traditional twist. Goose pairs very well with fruit, either as a sauce or relish on the side or incorporated into the recipe itself. 

December seasonal recipes to try - or just to get you thinking - include: 

• Glazed Roast Goose, Citrus, Swede & Friends 
- by Pascal Aussignac
A stunning roast Goose recipe, with a selection of bright, zesty 'friends' and a Swiss chard stuffing - Mango, Kumquats and Pickled Onion Petals all add to the bright flavour including plenty of Southern French indulgence - the stuffing sneaks in plenty of Armagnac and Toulouse Sausage meat for extra richness.
Preparation/Cooking time 2 hrs 30 mins.
 Click here for Whole Goose, Toulouse Sausages
(Click title for recipe)

•   Roast Goose, Chestnut & Pear Stuffing and braised Red Cabbage
 - by Martin Wishart
Prized for it's rich fat (for the ultimate crispy Roast Potatoes), Roast Goose makes a wonderful alternative to Turkey for a festive feast. Martin Wishart accompanies his Goose with a wintry Chestnut and Pear Stuffing, and braised Red Cabbage.
Preparation/Cooking time 3 hrs 45 mins. Click here for
 Whole Goose, Pork Sausages, Fresh Chicken Stock
(Click title for recipe)

• Confit Goose Legs 
- by Food Urchin
Cook this superb Confit Goose Leg recipe to give to a loved one as an edible gift this Christmas. Or you could always keep them for yourself. This method could be applied to all manner of birds Legs - Confit Duck Legs are sublimely tasty if you're on a tighter budget. Once cooked, this is great with some braised Red Cabbage or just devoured on toast. 
Preparation/Cooking time 3 mins, plus 6 hrs curing time. 
Click here for Whole Goose
(Click title for recipe)

Goose Breast with Goose Leg Sausage Roll, Kale & Cranberry Relish - by Marcus Wareing
The underrated Goose makes a luxurious centrepiece to a Christmas Day Roast. The Goose Sausage Roll is a particular highlight - guaranteed to provide a talking point at the table. 
Preparation/Cooking time 3 hrs. Click here for 
Whole Goose, Pork Mince, Fresh Chicken Stock

(Click title for recipe)

Beef Bourguignon with Celeriac Mash - by Gordon Ramsay
This sumptuous, step-by-step recipe for slow-cooked Stew from Gordon Ramsay makes a great winter supper
Preparation time 30 mins : Cooking time 3hrs 15 mins.  
Click here for Shin of Beef, Smoked Streaky Bacon
(Click title for recipe)

Braised Beef with Red Onions & Wild Mushrooms - by Mary Cadogan
Rich, sticky and packed with flavour, this is the kind of Beef dish that puts a smile on everyone's face, even on the bleakest winter day.  Freezable
Preparation time 45 mins : Cooking time 2hrs - 2hrs 45 mins.
 Click here for Braising Steak
(Click title for recipe)

•  Slow-roast Persian Lamb with Pomegranate Salad - by Barney Desmazery
This sweet, meltingly-tender Lamb makes a show-stopping dinner party dish
Preparation time 20 mins : Cooking time 3hrs 30 mins. 
Click here for Shoulder of Lamb Boneless
(Click title for recipe)

Pan-fried Chicken in Mushroom Sauce
Creamy Chicken and Mushroom dish - a fabulous French seasonal recipe. Freezable
Preparation/Cooking time 1hr 30 mins - 1hr 45 mins. 
Click here for Chicken Thighs, Chicken Drumsticks, Fresh Chicken Stock

(Click title for recipe)

Fragrant Pork & Rice One-Pot

Deliciously spiced Pork Meatballs and Rice are simmered together in this Stew, saving on washing-up. Freezable
Preparation time 15 mins : Cooking time 30 mins.  Click here for
 Directors Sausages

(Click title for recipe)

Chorizo, Pork Belly & Chickpea Casserole - by Barney Desmazery
A Spanish-influenced stew with slow-cooked Belly Pork, a cheap cut with great flavour and soft texture Freezable
Preparation time 20 mins : Cooking time 2hrs 30 mins. Click here for
 Pork Belly Boneless, Chorizo Rosario Sausages
(Click title for recipe)

Pan-fried Venison with Blackberry Sauce - by Sara Buenfeld
Blackberries are delicious in savoury sauces, and this version is the perfect match for the richly flavoured venison
Preparation time 10 mins : Cooking time 15 mins.  Click here for
 Venison Haunch Steak, Fresh Beef Stock, Redcurrant Jelly

     So there you have it - Goose, Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Pork and Venison, and other seasonal meat Recipe ideas for December using seasonal ingredients - with sometimes a delightful symbiosis of seasonal meats, fruits and vegetables - all on the same plate - just as nature intended

Enjoying all the benefits
Now armed with all that information - what is stopping you to start eating seasonally and enjoying all the benefits that come with the healthier approach that each month has to offer?

So whether you choose one of the recipes above - or are just inspired to explore further recipes we hope we have given you much food for thought for your December meals

Give it a Click 
So why not give it a Click -  and experience a whole new way to enjoy Godfreys Seasonal Free Range Premium Meats and Poultry by ordering from the comfort of you own home - or office - at a time that is convenient to you 

We do the rest - be it if you would prefer delivery direct to your door Nationwide - or at our Click and Collect Points in Highbury or Finsbury Park.  

Bon Appétit!
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