Quite some time ago I purchased A Feast of Ice & Fire – The Official Companion Cookbook. This book is chock-full of mouth-watering medieval recipes as well as many modern day counterparts that add a little something extra to the traditional dishes. Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, the brilliant authors of this culinary masterpiece, also spend some pages delving into the basics of a medieval kitchen – such as cooking apparatuses that would be handy to have, prominent spice mixtures that could be made ahead of time, and some traditional basic recipes that may be built upon to create full dishes.
Since then I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to create some medieval culinary magic. Why not Valentine’s Day? I mean, Westeros is nothing if not romantic……right? I cooked up a full meal for our crew this past weekend. Here’s what I made including photos and links to recipes:
Crusty White Bread:
The name is no joke. My loaves were exceptionally crusty. Delicious, but crusty AF. The insides of the bread were dense and moist. In the future, when I’m making this again, I think I’ll add some salt and even more honey. It did, however, make a phenomenal sponge for the gravy from the onions! (And it’s already been requested that I make a few to use as bread bowls.)
Fair warning: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, put your face over the pan while you’re cooking the sauce for this chicken. Your nostrils will be violently assaulted by the pungent stench of apple-cider vinegar. This was a little hit-or-miss. Junior and I enjoyed the sweet and mildly bitter flavor pairing, but Matt and Jenn weren’t the biggest of fans. I wasn’t able to find currants at my local grocery store, so I used some golden raisins and dried cranberries instead. The fruits came out plump and delicious. OH! and the tip for making crispy skin…..TOTAL WIN! It was crisp, golden and salty. Amazing!
Onions in Gravy:
I know. It doesn’t look like much at all. But this dish was the absolute STAR of the show. It is, without doubt, going to be worked into my dinner staples. When perusing the book initially, this is the recipe that interested me the most. It includes honey, butter, apple cider, and beef stock…not exactly ingredients one would think to put together with their onions. But I have to say, everything culminated in a delicious, fragrant, thick and savory dish that nobody at the table could get enough of. And did I mention it was crazy simple? Just wow. If you try nothing else, please attempt this one. It is absolutely delectable.
Sweet Corn Fritters:
While three out of four crew members thought they were alright, the fourth was not a fan at all. I do think they could have used a bit more salt, and I could have fried them longer for a crispier finish, but in all they had a buttery, mildly sweet flavor. And the kernels mixed into the cornmeal batter made for an interesting texture. But, we found that they were best eaten sweet – with plenty of honey drizzled over the top!
This book is fantastic. From the introduction by George RR Martin himself, right down to the pre-planned menus in the final pages, it is full of creative writing, beautiful photos and incredible ideas. There are so many more things that I can’t wait to cook – such as “Quails Drowned in Butter” and “Dornish Snake with Fiery Sauce” (yup….an actual snake!). For the nerdy chef, I highly recommend this lovely work.
Follow Chelsea’s literary food journeys at her blog The Inn at the Crossroads where she is constantly coming up with new recipes! And I recommend checking out her World of Warcraft cookbook as well (which I also own…..). I may just have to get wild and cook up another feast some time.