Dine Like a Crawley: Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey

September 18, 2019
Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Almond Fig Sauce

If you're a Downton Abbey fan then you're eagerly awaiting the film's premiere later this week. Just in time for the release is the new expanded version (complete with drool-worthy images) of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by author and professional baker Emily Ansara Baines. Enter the culinary worlds of both master and servant and experience over 150 recipes both elegant and simple from the early 20th century. Don your fanciest frock or waistcoat and step back in time for a proper English manorhouse feast - both upstairs and down. 

In the first half of the cookbook, you'll dine upstairs with the Crawley's starting with Hors d'Oeuvres Variés such as Lady Mary's Crab Canapés and Crunchy Fig and Bleu Cheese Tarts

First and Second Courses (Soups and Fish) brings us Velvety Cream of Mushroom and Partan Bree soups (the latter of which is a traditional Scottish soup of crab, cream, rice, and chicken broth), and succulent fish dishes like Lady Sybil's Poached Salmon with Creamy Hollandaise Sauce and "Love Me Alfred" Fish Soufflé  with Anchovy Sauce

Elegant Entrees in the Third Course range from classic Lobster Thermidor (or try the Lobster with Mornay Sauce) and the Crawley Family Chicken Breasts with Caper Cream Sauce

Juicy Joints and Succulent Steaks are in the Fourth and Fifth Course chapters: the Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb is the perfect weekend dish to prepare as is Mrs. Patmore's Perfect Pork Roast

Channel your inner aristocrat, the multi-course meal is not yet finished! Resplendent Roasts, Gorgeous Game, and Accompanying Salads are part of the Sixth Course. Feast on Roasted Veal Chops with Rosemary Basil Butter, Crispy Roast Duck with Blackberry Sauce, and Squab with Fig Foie Gras along with a Creamy Crab and Celery Salad or A Waldorf Salad for the British Tourist.

The Seventh Course brings us The Necessary Vegetable: Potatoes Lyonnaise, British Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Baked and Buttery Balsamic Asparagus with Sea Salt, and Mrs. Patmore's Easy Roasted Parsnips are just a few of the splendiferous veggie dishes on the menu.

Finish off the grand meal with Sweets and Desserts. The Dowager Countess's Dark Chocolate Truffles, Sir Anthony's Apple Charlotte, The English Trifle, Sussex Pond Pudding (named for the pool of caramel sauce that oozes out when cut), and Raspberry Meringue Pie will all tantalize your sweet tooth.   For a fine afternoon tea, join the Crawley's for Tea at Downton Abbey in chapter 8. You'll find all the classic finger foods from Classic Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches and Sweet Cream Scones to British Battenberg Cake and Anna Bates's Chocolate Crumpets.

In Part 2 of the cookbook - Sustenance for the Staff - we move downstairs to dine with the servants. Hearty Breakfasts to Start the Work Day include Spicy Classic Kedgeree and Working-Class Porridge. For the not-so faint of heart Boiled Beef Tongue, Deviled Kidneys, and O'Brien's Black Pudding are also on the menu. 

In A Quick Lunch Between Business, you'll find true English fare such as Classic Cornish Pasty, Yorkshire Pudding, Spicy Pub Fish and Chips, The Lancashire Hot Pot, Bubble and Squeak, Pork Pie Balls, and more.

For Downstairs Supper, try Tom Branson's Colcannon, Shepherd's Pie, or the Welsh Chicken, Leek, and Caerphilly Cheese Pie for St. David's Day

Desserts for the Servant's Sweet Tooth include Mrs. Patmore's No-Knead Sally Lynn Bread with Warm Honey Butter, an English Eccles Cake, Mr. Bates's Bread and Butter Pudding, as well as Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a Topsy Turvy World

Peppered throughout the cookbook are useful tips such as suggested pairings for dishes and etiquette lessons (like the proper way a lady should hold a teacup), as well as historical facts mentioned in Times Gone By sidebars (see example after recipe below), like the etymology of the word menu or why crumpets were the more affordable afternoon tea side for the working class than scones. 

Below is the perfect fancy roast for Sunday dinner. Prunes, cranberries, crème de cassis, red currant jelly, almonds, and fragrant herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and coriander are spread onto a butterflied leg of lamb, rolled up and tied, then studded with garlic and rubbed with more of the above mixture. After roasting, drizzle the lamb with a sauce of reduced balsamic vinegar, honey, sliced figs, butter, and basil. Hello, Sunday dinner!

Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Almond Fig Sauce

"The Sunday roast was a traditional meal served at all middle-class homes, offered as proof to both the families themselves and to anyone visiting that they could afford such a feast. This dish, however, is rather fancy for a Sunday roast, and would likely be enjoyed as the roast course at Downton Abbey." ~ Emily Ansara Baines

Yields 6 Servings

1/2 cup coarsely chopped prunes
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon creme de cassis liqueur
1 tablespoon red currant jelly
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (4-pound) boneless leg of lamb, rolled and tied
1 cup roasted almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped mint
4 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup thinly sliced figs
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Combine prunes, cranberries, crème de cassis, and red currant jelly in a small bowl; set aside. In another small bowl, combine thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and coriander and set aside. There is no need to refrigerate.

3. Roll lamb out on a flat, clean counter or cutting board. Trim off any thick parts so that meat is evenly thick. Cover lamb with half to one third of the herb mixture.

4. Add almonds and mint to prune mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined, then evenly spread mixture all over the lamb. Roll up the meat and tie with twine at 1" intervals. Cut 10–15 slits about 1" deep into the top of lamb, inserting chopped garlic into each depression. Rub meat all over with olive oil, and sprinkle with remaining herb mixture.

5. Place lamb in a large roasting pan. Make sure lamb is seam-side up. Place in preheated oven. For a medium-rare doneness, roast until thermometer inserted in the center reads 140°F. Remove lamb from oven and cover with foil for 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil. Boil until vinegar is reduced by half, about 4–6 minutes. Once reduced, stir in honey, sliced figs, and butter. Stir until butter has completely melted. Stir in chopped basil then remove from heat and set aside.

Times Gone By
Sunday roast came about as a way for the housewife to kill two birds with one stone. She could spend all day cooking this fancy roast on the “day of rest,” then serve the leftovers on Monday while doing the weekly wash.

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

“Excerpted from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition by Emily Ansara Baines. Copyright © 2012, 2014, 2019 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.”