The sad tale of the gooseberry sauce

We had goose for Christmas lunch, and to be honest, it was a little disappointing, probably because it was too small. It did not however, spoil our meal, we had roast potatoes, roast sweet potatoes, sprouts, carrots of many colours (heritage carrots but rather tasteless – we’ll stick to orange carrots in future!) batter puddings (not traditional but everyone loves them) and of course gravy. I was trying to think what traditionally went with goose, we had some cranberry sauce left over from Christmas Eve, but I fancied something else, some accompanying sauce, something sharp but with flavour. I knew I would probably be the only one to eat it, but…

I had a sudden inspiration of gooseberries, gooseberry sauce! I knew it went with mackerel and other oily fish, so why shouldn’t it go with fatty goose. Could I get gooseberries anywhere? Not fresh ones of course, but frozen? Had I ever seen frozen gooseberries? Unfortunately not, but I had a vague memory of tinned gooseberries from my childhood and I was fortune enough to find the last two tins in the shop. The recipes I found were just puréed goosegogs with a little sugar… that didn’t sound savoury enough to me and also tinned gooseberries were probably sweeter than ones picked fresh from the prickly bush.

I softened some thinly sliced onion in a little butter, added the drained gooseberries, blended them, added a pinch of salt and a little water, passed them through a sieve, gave a sprinkle of allspice and nutmeg, and there was my gooseberry sauce. It might need a little diluting as it was rather thick, and I wasn’t sure whether to heat it or have it cold. I put it in a nice bowl and set it aside ready for Christmas Day.

We were in no hurry to eat, no friends to visit, no visitors here, so we got up in a leisurely fashion having opened our stockings, had a nice breakfast, prepped the vegetables and got the goose ready, sorted everything out inn the kitchen, and then after a snack lunch, goose in the oven, daughter came home from work and we sat round the Christmas tree and presents were given out and opened. From time to time I looked at the goose which was progressing nicely and we had a very calm and lovely day.

At last the goose was resting, the roast potatoes just finishing, everything else cooking, gravy made, table laid, an assortment of crackers found left over from last year (I forgot to buy any) and then a flurry of getting everything onto the table. Soon our plates were covered in delicious Christmas dinner, and we toasted our good fortune and raised a glass to our dear and absent friends. All in all it was a lovely day, and we even managed to do the washing up rather than leave it until the next day. Replete and counting ourselves most fortunate, we had a quiet and leisurely evening playing silly games. A small snifter of some beautiful Tasmanian whisky, a gift from our daughter, and it was time t retire. How lucky we are!

Oh the gooseberry sauce? I forgot about it completely and found it a few days later, forlorn and abandoned. By then al the goose had gone, and somehow no-one fancied it… better luck next time, gooseberries.

My featured image is of our gooseberry bush in the garden.

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