1 goose (12-14 lbs.)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head garlic, cut in half
1 bunch fresh thyme sprig
1 bunch fresh sage
1 onion, quartered
1 dried bay leaf
2 cups water
4 large shallots, halved
1 red apple, quartered
1 green apple, quartered
1 If your goose is frozen, place in the refrigerator 24-48 hours before roasting to thoroughly defrost. Remove the goose from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the neck and giblets, rinse goose thoroughly with cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels. Trim as much of the access fat as possible from the opening of the cavity.
2 With the point of a sharp knife, prick the skin all over the goose, making sure not to pierce the flesh at all. Fold the neck flap under the body of the goose, and pin the flap down with a wooden toothpick. Generously sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper, and insert the garlic, apple, onion, shallots, thyme, sage and bay leaf. Tie the legs together with a piece of kitchen twine. Sprinkle the outside of the goose with salt and pepper, and place in a shallow roasting pan (breast side up). Carefully pour the water into the pan (this will prevent the grease that drips into the pan from burning).
3 Roast the goose in the oven until it turns a golden brown, about one hour. Every 30 minutes or so, use a baster to remove the grease from the pan. After 1 hour of roasting, reduce the heat to 325 degrees . Roast until the goose is very well browned all over and an instant read thermometer inserted into a breast (not touching the bone) reads 180 degrees (about 1 hour after reducing the heat).
4 Remove the goose from the oven and place on a platter. Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving. Dress with apples and herbs, if desired.