The holidays are upon us, and everyone’s thoughts have turned to food – cooking and eating it. Everyone has a favorite dish, and many still use family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
The same is true of Alexandria's local leaders. When Alexandria mayor William D. Euille was a child, Christmas dinner wasn’t Christmas dinner without a roasted goose. “We always had a smoked ham, collard greens, potato salad and a roast goose,” he said. “And yes, I really do cook.”
Here’s his recipe.
<sh>Cooking a Goose Bill's Way:
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large tart apple, chopped
1/4 + 1/3 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
6 cups toasted fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped raisins
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon each salt & black pepper
1 goose (7-8 pounds), giblets removed
In a small saucepan, combine the onion, salt, apple, and 1/4 cup broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for five minutes, or until onion and apple are tender.
In a large mixing bowl, combine onion mixture, bread crumbs, raisins, parsley, sage, salt and pepper. Toss 1/3 cup broth with bread crumb mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Rinse goose carefully, drain and pat dry. Prick the skin on the lower breast, legs, and around the wings, with a skewer. Stuff goose with breadcrumb mixturre, then truss it. Place it, breast side-up, on a rack in a large roasting pan.
Roast goose for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until goose registers 175 degrees on a meet thermometer, draining the fat often. When ready, let the goose stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
Yield: Six servings.
Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Hyland favors a roasted pig, although he is a well-known chef. Roast Suckling Pig has been a Christmas Tradition in the Hyland household since Gerry married Carmen Colon in 1961 and continued traditions from her family (and particularly her father, whose favorite meal this was) in Puerto Rico. He confesses that his first pig, which he cooked outdoors in a pit, caught fire and nearly burned down their house! Here’s his recipe
<sh>Lechon Asado (Roast Suckling Pig)
1 suckling pig, 25-30 lbs
28 oz. Goya Adobo Seasoning with Pepper and Pimiento
10 Tablespoons Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote (or six packages)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh apple for mouth
Cranberries for garnish
Wash pig inside and out, and wipe dry. Jab skin and inside surfaces 1/2 inch deep with end of sharp knife every 3-5 inches. Place small block of wood in pig’s mouth to hold open for apple. Rub pig inside and out with a light coat of olive oil. Pour Adobo seasoning in hand and rub over pig inside and out. Rub the Sazon into the skin to give a red hue.
If to be cooked in the oven:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pull pig’s back legs forward and front legs backward. Wrap pig in double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place in large roasting pan with back of pig toward top of oven. Cook at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast for 3.5 hours, or until meat is tender.
If to be cooked on a BBQ:
Spread legs open and straddle pig over fire. Place a pan below to catch drips and baste pig frequently with these drippings. Cook stomach down for 60 minutes turn 90 degrees and cook on side for 40 minutes, turn to other side and cook 1 hour, then turn to original position and cook 1/2 hour more.
Place pig on a large platter, remove block of wood from mouth, and replace with a fresh apple. Garnish platter with baked apples, then ring cranberries around apples. Cook can even make a cranberry necklace and earrings for the pig.
Alexandria city manager Philip Sunderland cooks up peanut soup as a holiday treat. “It’s my favorite recipe because it has lots of peanuts,” he said. Here’s his recipe.
<sh>Cream of Peanut Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 3/4 cups light cream
Saute the onion, celery and butter until soft. Stir in flour. Add chicken stock, stirring constantly. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and puree in blender. Add peanut butter and cream, stirring to blend thoroughly.
Return to low heat but do not boil. Garnish, very liberally, with peanuts.
May be served hot or cold.
Serves 10 to 12.