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Solstice Stuffed Sheep

What is it?

  A whole cooked vegetable lamb, stuffed with barnacle geese, which in turn are stuffed with the meat from giant insects.  

How is it served?

  The stuffed sheep is a centerpiece reserved for the midday meal on the solstice holidays. This dish is served hot on a bed of greens, garnished with fruit (what kind depends on which solstice it is) and with a giant beetle shell used as the platter. It is usually paired with wine, ale, or mead, but goes well with some non-alcoholic drinks also.  

How is it made?

  It takes several days to prepare this meal, and the event is considered part of the holiday as a community activity.  
  1. The animals to be cooked are selected. Vegetable sheep change color during the seasons, so when preparing for the holiday, sheep which best display the colors of summer or winter are chosen and fattened for the table. When selecting the geese, it's the largest and fittest birds which are chosen. The giant insects are usually beetles, which are hunted, with the best one caught within the time limit (half a day) being used for the meal. For those making the vegetarian version, mushroom gathering is substituted for the beetle hunt.
  2.  
  3. The sheep is sheared and butchered, with the chest cavity deboned to make the stuffing easier. It is then marinated overnight in wine or another sauce to tenderize the meat. The fleece is used as part of the holiday decorations, and is woven into a tapestry later to commemorate the event.
  4.  
  5. The geese are butchered, plucked, then deboned. Slits are cut into the meat and fresh or dried herbs and/or spices are packed inside.
  6.  
  7. Bones from the sheep and geese are simmered into a stock and set aside for later.
  8.  
  9. The outer, plant parts of the creatures are used in a vegetarian version of this dish, along with unsprouted seeds set aside for the purpose. The seeds don't produce their animal fruit until planted, and so are considered suitable for vegetarian diets. The sheep seed is the size of a large melon, with the geese seeds being the size of large eggs. These seeds are marinated in the same manner as the animal meat, and the sheep seed is then stuffed with geese seeds. These and the remaining gaps are stuffed with the plant parts from the animals, along with vegetables and mushrooms, and the whole thing is roasted before being garnished with fruit (also roasted or candied) and covered with honey or some other sauce. It pairs with the same drinks, and is served hot on a wooden platter.
  10.  
  11. The beetle is killed and shelled, with the shell being cleaned and set aside as the platter. The meat is cut into pieces and rubbed with different fresh or dried herbs and spices than the what was used for the geese.
  12.  
  13. Once the sheep has finished soaking, the beetle meat is stuffed into the geese, which are then stuffed into the sheep. Any remaining gaps are stuffed with vegetables, and the whole thing is slowly roasted for two days over hot coals. Candied or roasted fruit is used to garnish the sheep. The stock that was created from the bones is then poured over the sheep, though honey or another sauce can also be used. In that case, the stock is used for soup.
 

Origins and Traditions

  Nobody remembers the exact origins of this meal, and stories vary. Some say it was created by accident, when a farmer stuffed some butchered geese inside a sheep and forgot to take them back out before cooking it. Others claim that it was created during a cooking contest to find new dishes for the holidays. Still others say it was an ancient secret family dish which was leaked to the public by a gossip. Whatever the case, it has become a staple of Dra'corian solstice festivals (equinox holidays have a different dish) and remains to modern day. There are also rumors that this dish once used actual live animals, but the recipe was changed after the Awakening of the Beasts event during the first millennia.   The exact dressings for the dish: the vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, and sauces, vary by culture. Due to Dra'cora's hodgepodge of different climates, plants from all over the world are available to choose from, and because Dra'corians are non-human, they can eat those plants which would otherwise be toxic.   In many Dra'corian cultures, the sun is seen as masculine, and the moons feminine. During summer solstice, the sun is directly overhead in the sky, and this is a celebration of the sun and daylight. Among the diurnal races, the males of the community help with preparing the animals and hunt the beetles, while the females prepare the rest of the meal and do the cooking. During the winter solstice, the sun is below the horizon and the moons rule the sky. This is a celebration of the moons and night. During this festival, among the nocturnal races, the females prepare the animals and hunt the beetles, while the males ready the rest of the meal and have their turn to cook. These gender roles are reversed during the equinox festivals. This is considered a good way to learn different useful skills, and in some cases breeds competition, as families try to create better versions of the dish each festival.
Item type
Consumable, Food / Drink
Vegetable Lamb: A magical plant/animal hybrid. A plant which grows live sheep as fruit.   Barnacle Goose: A magical plant/animal hybrid. A tree which grows live geese as fruit.   Giant Insect: It is what it sounds like.

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