Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stew on the King's Road

Yoren sat on a stone, skinning a squirrel. The savory smell of stew filled Tyrion's nostrils. He dragged himself over to where his man Morrec was tending the stewpot. Wordlessly, Morrec handed him the ladle. Tyrion tasted and handed it back. "More pepper," he said.

Deeply sorry for the prolonged absence.  We've had lots of changes here at the kitchen. New babies, new jobs, new states.

However, it is fall now, and fall means stew.

I envisioned this to be a simple easy stew that the men of the Night's Watch could scrabble together from things found in their travels, and perhaps a few provisions tithed by Winterfell.  I'm not much for eating squirrel, so I used beef.  However, a closer parallel would be rabbit.  Still, the stew was tasty!


3tbs lard, grease or other cooking oil.
1 onion peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
2lbs stew meat cubed
salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper (or more if you are cooking for Tyrion)
2tbs flour
1 cup sweet red wine (I used Marsala)
1lb butternut squash cut into cubes (or potato, or sweet potato, or whatever else the Night's Watch may have found growing on their trail)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 cups chopped mushroom (or more...I used more.  I like mushroom)
3-4 cups beef broth

crusty bread for serving

In a large soup pot or dutch oven heat lard/grease/oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme.  Cook until tender.

Add mushrooms and brown slightly.

Toss beef in salt, pepper and flour.  Turn heat up to medium high and add beef.  Cook until beef is browned at the edges (about 5 minutes.  Do not overcook.  

Add the wine and scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.  Add squash and tomatoes and stir.

Add enough beef broth to cover beef and squash.  Bring stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Season with salt and pepper (lots of pepper for Tyrion).


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dothraki Wedding: The thrilling conclusion!

I have been horribly neglectful, but I hope this recipe  is worth it!  It's another variant on the Dothraki blood pie.  This one is more of a pie...though it feels somewhat too "western" for a Dothraki dish.

You will need:

2 lbs cubed "horse" (I used lamb)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tbs cardamon
1 tbs cumin
6 cloves of garlic crushed
olive oil
2lbs fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large sweet onion
1/2 cup blood (I harvested mine from all the lamb I've used so far)
hot water
2 pie crusts.

First, to make the pie crusts you will need:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
6 to 8 Tbsp ice water

Mix all the dry ingredients. Then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter.  Add water slowly until the dough forms into a coarse, moldable dough.  If it's too crumbly add more water.

Once your dough is "right" form it into 2 balls. Take each ball and flatten, fold, and reflatten with your hands to make "layers" for a flaky crust.  Do this about 6 times, then take the flattened disk and put in a cool place. (you should have 2 disks)

Now for the meat!

Coat the steak in flour, spices, salt and pepper.  Sear the meat in about 1/2 cup of olive oil.  You only want to brown it, not cook it. Remove from pan and place on a plate.

Leave the oil and drippings in the pan, and sauté the onions and mushrooms.  Wisk 3tbl of flour in 12 oz of hot water, until all lumps are dissolved.  Pour slowly into the pan with the onions and mushrooms, stirring constantly.  Add the blood.  Let the mixture come to a  boil.  Continue stirring.  Once the sauce thickens, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the meat. Simmer over very low heat for about 30 minutes.  

While it simmers, roll out your two pie crusts.  Line a pie tin with one.

Pour meat into the pie pan, cover with the top pie crust and seal well.  Cut holes in top crust to vent.  Back at 350degrees 30-40 minutes until the pie crust is fully cooked.

My camera is giving me un-rotatable photos again.  Fail!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Dothraki Wedding Part 4

This  will be first in a 2 part series on "blood pies".  The first recipe borrows heavily from the Mongolian HuuShuur, a handy, portable meat pie good for a nomadic people.

 For dough:
  • 21/4 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1tsp black pepper
you can use white or all purpose but the dough will be elastic and  more difficult to manage.

For filling and frying;
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 pound ground lamb.  Do not use a lean cut, the fat will keep the filling moist and help ensure thorough cooking.
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 tbs ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs Corriander
  • 1tbs cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 to 8 cups cooking oil

Make dough:
Stir together flour pepper and salt, then stir in warm water until a dough forms. Transfer to a floured surface and knead briefly. Form into 16 (1 1/2-inch) balls. Let stand, covered with an inverted large bowl, at room temperature 1 to 2 hours. If your dough is "wrong" use more flour or water as needed.

Make filling while dough stands:
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the spices, then stir together with lamb, onion, scallions, and water in a bowl. 

Form and fry pies:
Roll out 1 ball of dough into a 3- to 4-inch round on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Put about 2 tablespoons filling to one side on round, flattening filling slightly, and fold other half over it to form a half-moon. Press edges together to seal, forcing out air. Starting at one end of curve, fold edge over in triangles (each fold should overlap previous one), pressing as you go and pressing last fold under (this will help seal). Repeat with remaining dough and filling. 

It is EXTREMELY important that you seal these well or the leaking lamb fat will cause explosions of epic proportions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches oil to 350°F in a deep 4- to 5-quart heavy pot.

Fry pies, 4 at a time, until golden and meat is just cooked through, about 3-6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. 


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dothraki Wedding Part 3

As soon as I read "joints of meat" I immediately recalled "ouzi", a delicious lamb dish made for feasts and special occasions.  For large gatherings, and entire lamb will be roasted, but more commonly it's the leg or shoulder so...joints!

It's not really lamb season so the butcher did not have any bone in legs, or shoulders, so I made do with boneless, but for a proper meat joint presentation, you would want those bones.

  • 2 shoulder's of lamb,or one leg (If you want to go REALLY authentic dothraki, use goat)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 8ths
  • 6 cloves of garlic sliced

  • 2 1/2 c basmati rice(soak at least 30 mins before cooking)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 1/4 c lamb or chicken stock
  • 1/2 c almonds, sliced and toasted
  • 1/3 c pine nuts toasted
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

 Preheat oven to 425.  Rub the spices all over your lamb with the oil. Place in a roasting pan and put into oven.


After 20 minutes take your pan from the oven and transfer to a dutch oven. cover the lamb with 1-2 cups of water, add onion and garlic. place back into the oven on 300 F, cooking for 2.5 hours for rare, 3 hours for medium or  3.5 hours for well.  I like rare.

When the lamb has an hour left start your rice.  In a sauce pan fry the onion with 2 tbs of oil. Add the ground lamb and cook. Add the rest of your spices, stir well and add rice.

Pour in the boiling stock, mix well and simmer covered for 10-20 mins until rice is tender, add more stock if it becomes dry. Drain and place on plate then add your lamb on top decorating the top with the nuts.Serve the broth from the pan for dipping, and the onions as a side.  NOMNOMNOM!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dothraki Wedding Part 2

Sweet grass stew, you say? That can mean only one thing! (And this is one of the few vegan friendly recipes this blog will ever have!)

  • 4 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms (I used baby portabellas because they were handy, and sliced them, but enoki would be awesome!)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 13.5 oz of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

First, "dress" the lemon grass.  Peel the hard outer layers and cut off the dry green tips.  Take the soft white bases and crush with a knife.  Enjoy the delicious aroma of sweet, sweet, lemon grass.  In fact, rub some on your wrists, just for fun!

Heat the olive oil and saute the grass and onion for 3 minutes.  Add the spices and saute  for another 2-3 minutes.  Then add the remaining veggies.

Yes... I picked this sweet potato because it looked just like a Kamakura cookie!

Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Remove the lemongrass...or don't. I didn't.  However, when eating the soup, be careful not to eat the lemongrass.  It won't kill you put it's not pleasant to nom.

Add the peas and the coconut milk.  Cook 3 more minutes, then add the cilantro and serve.

Delicious and soooooooooooooo healthy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ahoy! Here Thar be Soy!

In researching my Dothraki wedding feast, I came to the conclusion that, statements of GRRM about composite cultures aside, I wanted to make Mongolian-esque food.

This of course required the use of Soy sauce.  But would that be proper? What exactly is this delightfully salty sauce and would a Dothraki Horde have access to it?

Answer: Yes.

The good folks over at the Kikkoman Soy Museum have put together a nice condensed history of soy sauce, but the take home point is that soy sauce (the American and British name derived from the Japanese term "Shoyu" or "Shio") is an ancient method that served the two very important purposes of both preserving perishable foods and enhancing the flavor in an economical and efficient manner given the high cost of pure salt.

For more on Salt, and the history of Salt, including a great discussion of the history of soy sauce and the many wars fought over the salt trades, I highly recommend this book.   All the salt and history you could ever want, and more!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dothraki Wedding Part 1

She had never seen so many people in one place, nor people so strange and frightening... They gorged themselves on horseflesh roasted with honey and peppers, drank themselves blind on fermented mare’s milk and Illyrio’s fine wines...Food was brought to her, steaming joints of meat and thick black sausages and Dothraki blood pies, and later fruits and sweetgrass stews and delicate pastries from the kitchens of Pentos, but she waved it all away.

My question...WHY???? Because that sounds pretty awesome.  Okay, so maybe I know why...the whole "being sold as a child bride by your creepy power hungry brother" thing probably doesn't do much for one's appetite, but still...

I've given a lot of thought to Dothraki cuisine and have come up with the following rules:

1. GRRM has said many times that the Dothraki are a composite of many cultures, including the Mongolians and various Native American cultures.  However, although there is not a direct one for one analogy, it is impossible to look at Khal Drogo and not see shades of Genghis Khan, so many of my Dothraki meals will have a Mongolian feel to them.  Mmmmmmm...Mongolian....

2. The Dothraki would likely have access to a wide variety of spices, ingredients, and culinary styles, borrowed from places that paid them tribute or...well...didn't pay them tribute and got their stuff taken anyway.  So there will be shades of middle eastern, far eastern, and basically anything that is good, meaty and hearty.

3. As a nomadic culture, the cooking methods must be simple.  There may be the ability to do things a little more complex while close to town, but this will largely be campfire and dutch oven cuisine.  Again...yum!

4.  "horseflesh" will be represented by either elk when I can get it, or very lean beef.  Horse are friends, not food.  And besides, in the US horse consumption is banned.

So, now that that is settled...without further ado...Part one of a multi-part series:

Horseflesh Roasted with honey and peppers!

  • one large, lean sirloin steak or elk steak.
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp ginger crushed
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1/3 cup honey 
  • Colorful Peppers
Cut the steak with the grain into 1/2 inch strips.  Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, ginger, and garlic.  Marinate in a shallow dish for 20 minutes.  Flip over, and marinate for another 20.

please ignore the fact this meat has been frozen...Dothraki meat would of course be steaming fresh off the horse!

Skewer the beef, weaving it with some cut up peppers.

Add the honey to the reserved marinate liquid and baste liberally.

Grill beef to your liking.  We did 3-4 minutes per side at medium high heat and ended up with "medium".

While the meat is grilling, boil the remaining marinate and honey until it reduces to a syrup for dipping.

I then served it over a bed of couscous with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger.

*Stay posted for a discussion of soy sauce and how yes, indeed, your ancient recipie may in fact use your favorite salty condiment!