“By the time the telling was done, it was dark outside and Sam was licking his fingers. ‘That was good, but now I’d like a leg of lamb. A whole leg, just for me, sauced with mint and honey and cloves. Did you see any lambs?’” -A Clash of Kings
This was one meal that really invoked the spirit of the North. Because Sam is the one dreaming about this dish, I could definitely see it being served during a time when the Night’s Watch wasn’t struggling quite so much as they are when we last see them. After all, Jon and Sam’s feast after taking their vows involved rack of lamb and berries with sweet cream.
But this really put me in mind of Winterfell- long trestle tables groaning with heavy platters, heaped with meat and sauce. The smell of roasting meat on spits wafting from those huge blazing hearths. The clink of knives on plates, and the glug of ale and mead being poured into mugs.
This recipe was delicious. I loved the sauce, but didn’t think there was nearly enough of it. I served this at Easter dinner, and the meat-to-sauce ratio was definitely skewed. I’d suggest doubling it if you are working with a hefty portion of lamb. The meat itself came out perfectly, tender and just pink. It was tasty on its own from being basted with the drippings, but paired with the sauce it was wildly better. I can’t wait for another special occasion to break this out again!
Recipe for Leg of Lamb, in dark beer, honey, and spices
- 1 leg of lamb, bone in (mine was a monster 7 pounder for Easter dinner)
- 2 cups dark beer, such as stout or porter
- 1 cup honey, divided in half
- 1 Tbs. juniper berries, crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. whole cloves
Preheat the oven to 375F. Combine the beer, honey, juniper, bay leaves, and cloves in the bottom of a deep roasting pan, then set the leg of lamb on top. Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper. Cook approximately 15 minutes per pound, basting every 10-15 minutes or so. The interior temperature of the lamb should reach 130F, at which point it should be done.
Remove from the oven, cover loosely with tin foil, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
Strain the drippings into a separate bowl, and skim off as much of the fat as you can. You can either serve the remaining mix straight with the lamb as a sauce, or simmer gently with a bit of fresh mint. I loved the flavor without mint so much that I didn’t bother adding any in, but those who are sticklers for accuracy to the books will want to include it.