TBP – Joffrey should just die. I do love eating these meals though. This was probably my favourite yet (but I really liked that cherry stuffing). If you agree with me (about Joffrey) you should check out this gif. You’re welcome.
This is a recurring favourite from last years Game of Thrones cookery. It’s as savoury and warming as you’d expect, hailing from the Wall.
Last year the Swansea Street Butcher was closed due to a fire and refurbishment and didn’t re-open until Christmas. I drove to four butchers looking for mutton, to no avail, and eventually settled on some fatty, boney chump chops figuring they’d have the most flavour. I was pretty excited this year to finally get my hands on some mutton so I could make this properly. Swansea Street have all sorts of exciting goodies, from the legendary ‘curry meat’ to sheep’s testicles and just about any other offal you care to name. I spotted some black pudding and decided to push my fellow diners buttons by adding that to the menu. Luckily they all rose to the challenge. Next time I’ll deep fry it.
Black pudding, crumbly cheddar and bread
Mutton cooked in a thick broth of ale and onions
Greens dressed with apples and pine nuts
Stewed quince with honey yoghurt
Mutton and Ale Stew
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
Leg of mutton
~12 375ml bottles of your favourite ale or equivalent volume (I like James Squire Nine Tales Amber Ale, and we buy a carton. To be on the safe side.)
~6 large onions
2c barley (or more to taste)
oil for frying
flour for dusting
optional: actual vegetables. This has worked well on various occasions with some combination of diced carrot, swede, turnip and parsnip.
Break the leg of mutton down into similarly sized chunks with a very sharp knife. You can either include the bone in the pot or save it for making stock later. Toss the chunks of mutton with some flour, heat some oil in a heavy saucepan, and brown the mutton in batches.
While the mutton is browning, roughly chop the onions. I leave mine in hefty wedges, I think if you cut them any smaller you’d barely notice them after a long cooking time. Remove the last batch of mutton and fry the onions until they start to soften. Place the mutton back to the pan and add about two thirds of the ale, and top up with water until the meat is all submerged. Bring to a boil, stirring, to avoid the pot foaming over. Reduce the heat somewhat and cook at a medium-high heat for two and a half to three hours, topping up with the remaining ale if the liquid gets too low, and diluting with water if the taste is too strong.
About 45 minutes before you want to eat, add the barley and stir through. Make sure there is a little more liquid than you think you need at this point as the barley will absorb some of it.
Serve with a hunk of bread to soak up the leftover broth.
Sugar to taste (ballpark 200g, allow far more than you would for most other fruits)
Vanilla pod and/or a lemon (either a squeeze of juice or some sliced rind, without the pith), if you like
Peel and slice the quinces. You’ll need very sharp tools and getting the core out can be a real challenge, so watch your fingers. Place sliced quince in a saucepan, add the sugar (and any other extras) and cover with water. Bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar and reduce the heat down as far as it can go. Simmer, uncovered, until the fruit is done to your liking. I never really pay attention to how long this takes as it seems to vary greatly between quinces, so check every 10 minutes or so and allow 45 minutes or so.
When the fruit is tender, remove it from the liquid with a slotted spoon and put aside. Boil the syrup aggressively until it reduces somewhat to make a sauce. We served it with honey yoghurt, but it makes a great filling for a crumble, or a cereal topping for breakfast.