If you ever find yourself in New Zealand and see colonial goose on the menu, don’t expect to get a bird. This traditional dish has nothing to do with geese, but rather with lamb. Colonial goose is a leg of lamb that has been deboned and stuffed with breadcrumbs, onion, parsley, thyme, honey, and dried apricots. It is then marinated in red wine and slowly roasted until tender and juicy.
The origin of this dish is not very clear, but some sources suggest that it dates back to the 19th century, when British settlers in New Zealand tried to recreate the roast goose they used to enjoy back home. Since geese were scarce and expensive, they substituted them with lamb, which was abundant and cheap. They also shaped the lamb leg to resemble a goose and stuffed it with fruits and spices to mimic the flavor of the bird.
Another theory is that colonial goose was invented by New Zealand farmers who wanted to impress their guests with a fancy dish. They used lamb as the main ingredient because it was their main export product and they wanted to showcase its quality and versatility. They also added apricots to the stuffing because they were one of the few fruits that could grow in the harsh climate of New Zealand.
Whatever the true story behind colonial goose, it is undeniable that it is a delicious and festive dish that showcases the best of New Zealand cuisine. Lamb is considered an essential part of the quintessential New Zealand Sunday roast – a long-held family tradition that diligently survived until the late 20th century. As one article puts it, “A roast leg of lamb has long been hailed as the ultimate Kiwi favorite.”
Colonial goose is also a dish that reflects the creativity and adaptability of New Zealanders, who have been able to make use of their local ingredients and influences from various cultures to create their own unique culinary identity. As another article states, “New Zealand lamb continues to be a favourite on Kiwi meat-lovers’ tables. The meat is still served with assorted veggies, and is usually flavoured with rosemary.”
If you want to try making colonial goose at home, you can find many recipes online that will guide you through the process. You will need a boneless leg of lamb, some bread crumbs, onion, parsley, thyme, honey, dried apricots, red wine, olive oil, salt and pepper. You will also need some beef stock, crème fraiche or sour cream, lemon zest, wine vinegar and a bay leaf for the sauce. The cooking time will vary depending on the size and weight of your lamb leg, but it will usually take around 3 hours in total.
Colonial goose is a dish that will surprise and delight your guests with its rich flavor and deceptive name. It is a perfect way to celebrate any special occasion or simply enjoy a cozy meal with your loved ones. As one recipe suggests, “Serve the lamb on a thick bed of thyme for that perfect festive touch, and garnish with a side of your favorite seasonal produce.”