Cookbook:Colonial Goose

Colonial Goose
CategoryMutton recipes

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Colonial goose is the name for a surprisingly effective preparation of roast leg of lamb.

Early colonial pioneers in New Zealand had sheep aplenty, but goose was relatively scarce. To prepare dishes similar to those they had back home in England the pioneers were very inventive. Colonial Goose is now a recognised classic, with some restaurants featuring it as a main attraction at midwinter festivities (June 21 in NZ). It involves the careful boning out a leg of lamb, stuffing it with honey and dried apricots, and then marinating it in a red wine based marinade which even gives it the appearance of goose when cooked.



You need a large leg of mutton. If you don’t know how to bone it out, ask your butcher to do it, stressing that you need to be able to stuff it.

Meat and stuffing





  1. To prepare the stuffing, melt the butter and honey over low heat, add the other ingredients, and combine well.
  2. Force the stuffing into the cavity in the meat, and sew it up with fine string.
  3. Combine all marinade ingredients.
  4. Place the leg into a plastic bag in a large bowl, and add the marinade mixture to the bag. Let marinate for 8 hours.
  5. Bake mutton in oven at 180 °C for 2 hours, checking on progress at 90 minutes. If the meat looks like it is over-browning, it can be covered by foil.
  6. Remove the string before carving.
  7. Strain the marinade and use 3–4 tablespoons of the liquor to make gravy.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • The meat is best prepared just after breakfast, so it can then be regularly turned over in the marinade throughout the day.