A Game of Thrones / Chicken / Food / Recipe / Themed Food

Dinner is Coming

TBP – I got a complaint earlier about including too many photos! So today you don’t get as many ingredient shots as I took (you only get two! *gasp*). But this meal was amazing, and our friend said he had never tasted chicken so tender. I, on the other hand, fell in love with the stuffing. CHERRIES IN STUFFING, it’s like having TWO desserts!

Sorry this took so long to get up, I’ve been horribly busy with assignments and stuff and I was feeling pretty out of it that day. But we have three more posts on their way to you very soon.

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A couple of weeks ago I discovered the food history section of our University Library. Somehow, amazingly, I’d never run across it at work and as TBP and the Breeze can attest, I got a bit excited. Showing great restraint I borrowed a mere seven titles and am currently plugging through them under the justification of it being ‘practically study’. Pleyn Delit by Constance B Hieatt and Sharon Butler gives a recipe in the original language (if that language bears a vague resemblance to modern English, and otherwise translated) with a reference to the text it was drawn from, followed by a version of the recipe translated for modern readers and their tastes. While they go to great lengths to explain that medieval cookery was not all heavily spiced sauces on boiled chickens, there is still a fair bit of that going on. Fabulous Feasts by Madeleine Pelner Cosman on the other hand (and granted I haven’t finished reading this one yet) features more recipes that seem accessible for modern tastes and comes recommended by Julia Child, so what more could you want? This menu draws from both of them. As it was, yet again, a public holiday rounding up the (fairly standard) ingredients was somewhat of a trial, made no easier by the fact I had my clumsiest day so far this year and managed to knock something off the shelf in every store we went in to as well as ruin a caramel, nearly ruin a thermometer, drop a mug and cause two boxes of plastic cups to fall on my foot. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am all class.

Menu 

Chicken with oats, ricotta, cherry stuffing & a bread sauce
Frumenty/barley
Braised Spinach
Bread

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Farsed Chicken from Fabulous Feasts
(recipe is verbatim except for my comments in parantheses and quantities/temperatures were translated to metric)
Ingredients:
1 large roasting chicken, 2-2.5kg
½ c dry lentils
1 ½ c ale
1 c chicken broth
200-300g cherries (we used jarred)
200g ricotta cheese
2/3c oats
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sweet basil
2 TB butter
Sauce:
⅔ c white wine
¾ slices of white bread, crumbled
¼ tsp salt

Method:
Soak lentils in ale overnight (or skip this step if you’re disorganised). Boil lentils in residual ale plus broth for 15 minutes. Drain lentils and reserve 1 cup of fluid.
Remove pits from cherries (we used jarred so this was already done) and cut each in half, or if very large, in quarters.
Mix lentils, cherries, ricotta, and oats. Sprinkle on salt and basil (which I replaced with thyme).
Stuff the bird, rub the skin with butter (or dot if you’re lazy) and bake at 180 degrees celsius for about 2 hours or until flesh is tender and skin crisp. Prepare a ‘gravy’ with 1 cup of reserved lentil fluid, wine, bread and salt, gently simmering all for 10 minutes.

I admit I was a bit skeptical about the ‘gravy’ as I’d never had a bread sauce before, but it did all come together passably smooth. Just keep stirring, it works even though it looks unlikely.

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L: “gravy” at the point where I started to panic. R: barley just before the eggs are added.

Frumenty from Pleyn Delit
(recipe is verbatim except for my comments in parantheses)
Aym clene Wete and bray it in a morter wel that the holys gon al of and seyth yt til brete and nym yt up, and lat it kele and nym fayre fresch broth and swete milk of Almandys or swete mylk of kyne and temper yt al, and nym the yolkys of eyryn; boyle it a ltyl and set yt adon and messe yt forthe wyth fat venyson and fresh moton.

Cracked Wheat (Barley Variation)
1 c pearl barley
3 c meat stock or bouillion, or use half milk (can be almond milk)
optional: pinch of saffron, 1 or 2 egg yolks (both highly recommended by the book)

Method:
Bring the stock to a boil and stir in the barley and saffron (if you have time, heat the stock and saffron and let them sit a while first). Cover the pan and turn the heat very low; let the frumenty cook for about 45 minutes (or a little longer for barley). It may be served as it is, or you can remove it from the heat, stir in beaten egg yolk, then return to very low heat and stir for a few minutes before serving.

I added some extra liquid so I could safely leave it on the stove while I did something else and had to strain some of it off so it wasn’t soupy. Depending on how high you have the heat, you may have to do this even if you use the correct quantity.

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Spynoch Yfryed from Pleyn Delit
(recipe is verbatim except for my comments in parantheses and quantities/temperatures were translated to metric)
Take spynoches; parboile hem in sepying water. Take hem up and presse out he water and hewe in two. Frye hem in oile clene, & do her-to powder & serve forth.

Braised Spinach
1 kilo fresh spinach, washed, picked over for withered leaves, and trimmed
salted water for parboiling
2-3TB olive oil
14tsp salt
pinch each of ginger and allspice

Method:
parboil spinach in a large pot of water for about 4 minutes; drain, press out excess water with your hands, and chop the spinach; put in a saucepan or small casserole with oil and seasonings. Stir and leave to cook over very low heat for another 15 minutes or so; or put in covered casserole in a low oven for about 20 minutes

This spinach was not amazing. Spinach is my go-to lazy vegetable for Game of Thrones dinners but I normally wilt it in the pan juices. Maybe I didn’t fry it long enough? I only gave it about five minutes because I was pretty convinced there’d be nothing left after fifteen. It’s probably worth giving this one more go with something a bit hardier like cavolo nero.

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We went down south last winter and road-tripped home again via the Blackwood Meadery near Karridale (and the Venison Farm and everything else delicious we passed). They don’t have a website but if you’re in the South-West you should consider going to check them out. One of my favourites was the plum and mead liqueur, which we had a nip of in keeping with the stone fruit theme. On the hot tip that it would be a good match for roast chicken we challenged my irrational fear of Chardonnay and tried a lightly oaked specimen from Margaret River that did indeed go quite nicely.

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Verdict: all round delicious. I would definitely make the chicken again for a non-themed dinner as the flavours were modern and although it sounds odd, unusual but not unfamiliar. The barley was a bit of a dark horse and may become a staple at Game of Thrones night in the future. I’m going back to my usual spinach method in the future though.

-TBC

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3 thoughts on “Dinner is Coming

  1. Pingback: Long Live The (True) King « The Brazen Duck

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