“‘Hungry again?’ he asked. There was still half a honeyed chicken in the center of the table. Jon reached out to tear off a leg, then had a better idea. He knifed the bird whole and let the carcass slide to the floor between his legs. Ghost ripped into it in savage silence.”
Our first mention of food is the feast prepared upon King Robert's arrival at Winterfell. Not much of the food is mentioned, save for two dishes: Honeyed Chicken and Roast Onions. (And of course trenchers...but what else is new?) I figured this would be an easy first venture.
First, I decided that the kitchen of Ned Stark would be simple, frugal, and prone to reusing ingredients. However, this was a feast for a king, so some extravagances would be allowed. Lemons were cultivated on a large scale in Genoa as early as the 15th century and, while it would be difficult to raise lemons in the North, King's Landing seems to have no shortage of them, and regions of Dorn are similarly known for their lemons. With a caravan traveling from King's Landing, it's not difficult to imagine some traders and merchants would tag along for safety, and lemons may be just the type of practical luxury a man like Ned Stark would spring for. So our honeyed chicken will feature lemons.
For the honeyed chicken you will need:
- Rosemary Sprigs. A lot of them. Lucky for me I have a garden in which about the only thing that actually grows is rosemary.
- One chicken.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons honey
- One sliced lemon
- 4 shallots (peeled)
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste.
Whisk the oil, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl to blend. Lift the skin away from the chicken breast and rub 1/4 of the mix into the meat. Careful, don't break the skin. Drizzle the remainder over the chicken and stuff with half a lemon, one shallot, and some more rosemary.
|Tower to honey sauce, you are clear for landing.|
|Happy Chicken is happy.|
Finally, remove chicken from pot and steal all the skin while no one is looking. OMNOMNOMNOMNOM.
For the onions, peel two onions and cut in half, crosswise. Place in a dish, cut side down, sprinkle with water and bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes.
Mix together 1/4 cup of honey, 1 tablespoon of melted butter, salt and pepper to taste, and a teaspoon of dried rosemary. Flip the onions over and baste with 1/2 of the mixture. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, uncovered. At 15 minutes, cover with the remaining honey sauce.
When all was done, the chicken was tender and succulent, but the honey taste was more subtle than I had hoped. I imagine that would be cured by taking some of the pan juices, combining with another 1/4 cup of honey and reducing to a nice honey glaze but a. that is more calories than I wanted in this meal and b. I didn't want to wait to eat my wonderful smelling chicken.
The onions had a delightfully sweet taste and a nice crunch, but did not want to hold together. It's hard to imagine Benjen Stark managing to pick them up without the aid of a fork, but their juices were delightfully runny, so I guess we can just assume Benjen is a man who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty when he eats.