“The kid had been roasted with lemon and honey. With it were grape leaves stuffed with a melange of raisins, onions, mushrooms, and fiery dragon peppers. ‘I am not hungry,’ Arianne said…After a while, hunger weakened her resolve, so she sat and ate.” -A Dance with Dragons?
THIS. Is. Epic.
From the first bite, this dish will make you feel like a Dornish Prince, or a lucky Sandsnake.What an amazing meal. This post was one of the earliest on the blog, but after reviewing it, I realized it was more of a concept post, rather that actual, awesome recipes. That, with the benefit of one cookbook’s worth of experience, plus several years of blogging, proved easy to fix. Years ago, I found an original medieval recipe for roast kid that went like this: “Take a kydde, and slytte the skyn in þe throte…And trusse his legges in the sides, and roste him…” This is one of my favorite recipes for showcasing just how unhelpful some medieval recipes could be. It’s essentially saying, “kill the goat and roast it.” None of our modern cook times or temperatures here!
This time around, I opted for my own marinade, swapped lamb for goat (which can be tough, and is a better candidate for stewing), and the result was delicious. Flavors of honey and lemon burst on the tongue, only to be replaced by the gradual burn of pepper. While the tender lamb is the center of the meal, the other sides are what makes it a feast. They include:
- Pide (flatbread), with Chickpea Paste and Mesquite Honey
- Marinated Feta
- Assorted Olives
- Stuffed Grape Leaves
The pide bread, fresh baked and still warm from the oven, is addictive, especially paired with the rich feta. As though that weren’t enough to utterly stuff a person, the grape leaves’ complicated collection of flavors beckons from a nearby plate, and a bowl of mixed olives soon dwindles to a pile of pits. The meal is a constant cycle of sweet, spicy, and salty tastes, and just as soon as you complete one round of flavors, you find yourself reaching for more.
I wish I had a picture of the aftermath of the meal, wrought by just two eaters, but I’ll admit that I was pleasantly struggling to stay awake by that point. We ate it for lunch, and didn’t need a meal for the rest of the day.
Although there are many elements involved in a Dornish Dinner, a little forethought can simplify things. Make the grape leaves and the bread dough the day before, allowing the latter to rise overnight. Marinate the lamb overnight also, or start it first thing in the morning.
Verdict? Absolutely make this meal. Consider dressing in silks and eating out of doors, in hot weather, under trees heavy laden with overripe fruit. Or recline on a bed of pillows indoors, and imagine the warmth of the Dornish sun, even in the bitterest of our winters. Eat with your fingers- it brings you closer to the food.
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, and very well fed…
Lamb with Honey, Lemon, and Fiery Peppers
Prep: 4 hours+ Cooking: ~10 minutes Serves: 2-4, depending on sides
Cook’s Notes: Lamb can be expensive, but if you’re going through the effort of making this meal, don’t skimp on quality. A nice meat will mean you get a wonderfully tender dish in the end.
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 2 Tbs. honey, plus extra to drizzle
- 1/2-3/4 lb. lamb, cut into 1″ chunks
Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl, making sure to mix thoroughly. Add the lamb, and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours. Preheat the oven to 400F, and place the lamb on skewers, leaving just the slightest bit of space between each piece. Cook for around 8 minutes, flipping once in the middle to ensure the meat cooks evenly.
When done, remove from heat and drizzle with honey. If you like, you can then stick the skewers under the broiler very briefly to slightly caramelize the honey. Just be careful not to overcook the lamb. Place the finished skewers on a bed of pilav, and enjoy!