Okay, I am going to admit it. I have a nerdy side. I enjoyed George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” long before HBO premiered “A Game of Thrones” and I will enjoy it long after people stop jumping on that bandwagon. I Like Dungeons & Dragons, The Lord Of The Rings, and lots of other “nerdy” things as well. And judging by the success of most of those in pop culture, I’m guessing a lot of you like it too but are afraid of admitting it. If you were to look at my Facebook feed, you would probably think that all I cared about was role-playing games, Doctor Who, and politics.
So by now you are probably wondering what all this has to do with food or dating. Well the truth is, a lot. If you read A Song of Fire and Ice you will find an extremely varied and exciting food culture. You will also find a lot of great don’t for dating, such as “don’t cut your date’s father’s head off and then force her to look at it.” Today we are interested in the food though, and not the extremely complicated and often disturbing love lives of Westros’s rich and famous.
Before I begin, I must give credit to The Inn at the Crossroads, an incredible website that does a great job of chronicling the food of A Song of Fire and Ice. All the recipes I am sharing in this post come from that website, with a few tweaks of my own.
So about two weeks ago I decided to make a Game of Thrones themed meal for my girlfriend. She loves to have me cook for her and it gave me an excuse to try out some new recipes. So let me tell you what I did.
For the appetizer I went with garlic mushrooms. This recipe was first mentioned in A Dance With Dragons. That means that you folks who only watch the show won’t have heard of it, and as the circumstances of the meal constitute some huge spoilers, I won’t share it here. I will say however that it is a southern dish often enjoyed in Pentos. The recipe is delicious and you should definitely try it.
So, to make garlic mushrooms first you take a pound of white mushrooms and lay them out on a baking tray. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the mushrooms and then sprinkle three cloves worth of minced garlic over the mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and just before you slide the mushrooms into the oven, top it with three tablespoons of butter, chopped into small pieces. Bake the mushrooms for 15 to 20 minutes and then serve them. This should keep you and your friends happy while the rest of the meal is cooking.
Next up, for the side dish, I made spiced squash. This recipe came from A Clash of Kings and was enjoyed by Serr Janos Slynt right before Tyrion Lannister exiled him to the Wall. So this dish comes from King’s Landing, which fits with the theme of taking a culinary tour through Westros and beyond.
First you need an acorn squash. This is a smallish squash with a tough skin and it takes a long time to cook. The original recipe called for sugar pumpkin, but since those are hard to get except at Halloween, I went with something a little easier to procure. Split the squash and scoop out the seeds. Rub butter on the inside of each half and then season the squash with 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; if you turn down the oven after making the mushrooms, you shouldn’t have to wait at all. Now, bake the squash for one to one and a half hours, until the squash in very soft and the top just starts to turn brown. The squash can be served in halves if there is just one or two of you eating or it can be cut into cubes and served that way.
Finally, we get to the main dish, honeyed chicken. This is a dish fit for a king, and was served when King Robert I visited Ned Stark at Winterfell in A Game of Thrones. First we start with the chicken. The recipe calls for whole chickens, but it is more economical and leads to less waste to use leg quarters. Lay the chicken out in a pan and rub it down with olive oil and sprinkle it with sea salt. It has to cook in a 400 degree over for an hour to an hour and a half just like the squash, so it is best to cook the together.
Now while the chicken is roasting, it is time to do the honeyed part of the dish. In a small sauce pan, combine 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup of honey, mint, and 1/8 cup of raisins. The amount of mint that you need depend on whether you are using fresh or dried mint. With fresh mint, you want to use about a teaspoon. Dried mint only takes 1/4 teaspoon. Simmer the honey/vinegar mixture on the stove until the raisins plump and the sauce reduces slightly. When it’s done you want it to have a syrupy quality to it. Take the sauce off the heat and let it sit until the chicken is done. When the chicken comes out of the oven spoon the sauce and raisins over the chicken. The sauce will melt slightly and form a delicious glaze.
Now for dessert, go with something simple like store bought sherbet. This is something that was enjoyed in Dorne, so it fits the theme and is simple to prepare.
There you go, a culinary tour of A Game of Thrones that is fit for a king and yet economical and easy to prepare. Why not have some friends over to watch the show and give these recipes a try. You will be glad you did.