The return of Game of Thrones calls for a celebratory feast – beans on toast and a mug of tea just won’t cut it. So we’ve compiled recipes for a hearty three-course meal, complete with medieval mulled wine (plus vegetarian and non-alcoholic options) courtesy of the official Game of Thrones cook book A Feast of Ice and Fire.
Each dish is inspired by a passage from one of creator George RR Martin’s novels. We kick off with the sweetcorn fritters enjoyed by Tyrion in A Storm of Swords, then move on to a choice of Mutton in Onion-Ale Broth courtesy of The Night’s Watch, or Lord Tyrell’s Cheese-and-Onion Pie, before finishing up with Arya’s Snitched Tarts, as pilfered by Ned Stark’s youngest daughter. Wash it all down with hot spiced mulled wine or a delicious, refreshing Minty Green Drink.
Pick up your ingredients this weekend and start preparing early – you have a big night of cooking, feasting and viewing ahead of you…
Starter: Sweetcorn Fritters
“Tyrion listened with half an ear, as he sampled sweetcorn fritters and hot oatbread baked with bits of date, apple, and orange, and gnawed on the rib of a wild boar”— A Storm of Swords
Serves 2 to 3
Prep: 5 minutes
Cooking: 5 to 10 minutes
These are so very delicious. The batter crisps up during the frying, but the kernels of corn maintain their fantastic fresh pop. The result is a textural tug-of-war that will have you grabbing fritter after fritter. Given the lack of corn in Medieval Europe, there are no extant recipes for corn fritters from that time period. As such, we have created a recipe that produces corn fritters that are flavourful, aesthetically consistent with Martin’s description, and would pair well with the other foods he mentions in the passage.
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-Pinch of salt
-Kernels from 2 ears cooked corn, or 2 cups frozen or drained, canned corn
-1 large egg
-1/4 cup milk
-1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
-Pinch of ground black pepper
-2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté the corn kernels for about 5 minutes; sprinkle the corn with salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk until smooth, then stir in the cornmeal, flour, a pinch of pepper, followed by the corn.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the same nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking, then drop in 2 tablespoons of batter at a time. Fry until the fritters are golden brown on each side, around 5 minutes total, then transfer them to paper towels to drain. Cook all the batter in this way, adding more oil if necessary. Serve hot.
Main: Mutton in Onion-Ale Broth
“The Wall wept and the sun crept across a hard blue sky. Near evenfall, Owen the Oaf returned with a loaf of black bread and a pail of Hobb’s best mutton, cooked in a thick broth of ale and onions” — A Storm of Swords
Serves 3 to 4
Soaking wheat berries: 6 hours to overnight
Broth: 1 to 2 hours
Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
This is an ideal meal to make with lamb leftovers, such as one might have after Easter, as it utilises meaty bones, stale bread, and flat beer. We have added in or changed only a few things in the original 15th-century recipe. The onions go in whole and come out surprisingly sweet, and the flavours in the black bread suit the mutton dish very well. Overall, this is a primitive, hearty soup that is perfect for the brothers of the Night’s Watch.
-About 1 pound lamb bones or bony stew meat
-8 pearl onions, skinned
-1 bottle dark beer, preferably flat
-Pinch of saffron (optional)
-1/2 cup wheat berries, soaked until soft (at least 6 hours or overnight)
-Salt to taste
-1/2 pound ground lamb, or reserved meat from bones
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter or oil
-Day-old bread slices, or toasted bread slices of your choice
If you are using stew meat, remove the meat from the bones and set it aside. Place the bones in a large pot, cover with water, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Skim the surface of the broth occasionally to remove scum and excess fat.
To the large pot of broth, add the onions, beer, saffron (if using), wheat berries, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 15 to 30 minutes. While the broth is cooking, heat the butter in a skillet and gently brown the ground lamb or reserved stew meat. Add the meat to the broth pot and keep the stew warm until you are ready to serve.
Break the bread slices into large pieces and place them in the bottom of individual soup bowls, then ladle the hot soup over the bread. Serve immediately.
Cooks note: If you serve the bones with the broth, be sure to warn your diners, lest they be surprised by them. Personally, we love the way the bones look in the bowl, and like a brother of the Night’s Watch, you can then be sure to get every scrap of meat!
Vegetarian main: Cheese-and-Onion Pie
“Moon Boy mounted his stilts and strode around the tables in pursuit of Lord Tyrell’s ludicrously fat fool Butterbumps, and the lords and ladies sampled roast herons and cheese-and-onion pies” — A Storm of Swords
Serves 6 to 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Baking: 30 to 45 minutes
This makes a quirky quiche-like pie, in which basil and fruit are the stars. The currants are a surprising and pleasant sweetness at the end of every bite. The pie is delicious on its own and nicely accompanies any sort of roasted meal.
-1/2 batch Medieval Pastry Dough, unbaked
(1 batch: pinch of saffron, ½ cup of water, ½ cup unsalted butter, 3 cups flour, 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten – dissolve saffron in water, rub butter and flour together, add egg yolks and saffron water, stir together, adding more water gradually if needed, until mixture sticks together)
-3 to 4 medium onions, finely chopped or thinly sliced
-Fresh herbs, 1 sprig each sage, basil, and thyme
-1/4 cup dried currants
-2 tablespoons flour
-1 grated cup of your favourite creamy cheese, such as Havarti or Muenster
-8 eggs, beaten
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
-1/4 teaspoon saffron
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon Poudre Douce (“Sweet Powder” a common medieval spice mix containing cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and sugar)
Preheat over to 350 degrees F
Roll out the pastry dough, fit into the bottom of a pie or quiche pan, and set it aside. Parboil the onions and herbs for 5 minutes, then drain them well. Press the herbs dry and chop them finely. Toss the currants with flour; this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pie.
Combine the onions, herbs, currants, cheese, eggs, butter, saffron, salt, and poudre douce in a bowl. Mix them thoroughly and pour the filling into the prepared pastry shell.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the pastry dough is browned. Remove from oven, and serve while still warm.
Dessert: Arya’s Snitched Tarts
“She filched one anyway, and ate it on her way out. It was stuffed with chopped nuts and fruits and cheese, the crust flaky and still warm from the oven. Eating Ser Amory’s tart made Arya feel daring. Barefoot surefoot lightfoot, she sang under her breath. I am the ghost in Harrenhal” — A Clash of Kings
Prep: 15 minutes
Frying pastry: 20 minutes
Toppings: 45 minutes
Yields: 50 tarts
Pairs well with Honeyed Chicken, Sansa Salad, Mulled Wine (see drinks)
These tarts take a while to make, but they are worth every minute. The pastries look like one could easily overindulge, but each small shortbread cookie is a commitment. The fruit syrup is heavy and chewy; our British readers may recognise this dessert as the medieval ancestor of the Jammie Dodger.
-1 bottle inexpensive sweet red wine, such as a Shiraz
-1 ½ cups honey
-1/2 cup red wine vinegar
-1 tablespoon Poudre Forte (“Strong Powder” a medieval spice mix containing ground black pepper, cinnamon, mace, ginger and cloves)
-1/2 cup chopped dates or prunes
-1/2 cup currants
-1 cup fresh or dried figs, if available (if not, substitute your favorite berries), diced
-Crumbled candied nuts (optional, but delicious)
-1 batch Medieval Sweet Dough (see Cheese-and-Onion Pie, above)
-Vegetable oil for frying
Bring the wine and honey to a boil, then reduce the heat and skim off the foam until the liquid is clear. Add the vinegar, poudre forte, and fruits; return the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Keep an eye on the fruit as you proceed – do not over-reduce it! The syrup should lightly coat the back of a spoon and reduce by about a third to a half.
Roll the sweet dough to about ¼-inch thickness on a floured board, then use a circular cutter or drinking glass to cut out circles about 2 inches in diameter.
Put a shallow layer of oil into a skillet or pan and place it over medium-high heat until hot. Working a few at a time, gently slip dough circles into the oil and fry until they are lightly browned and very crisp. Transfer the fried circles to paper towels to drain. Arrange the cakes on a serving platter, then spoon on just enough of the fruit mixture to cover each disk. Sprinkle with candied nuts. The yellowish cakes and the red topping make an interesting contrast in colors, and the wine will soften the cakes.
To drink: Medieval Mulled Wine
“The Old Bear was particular about his hot spiced wine. So much cinnamon and so much nutmeg and so much honey, not a drop more. Raisins and nuts and dried berries, but no lemon, that was the rankest sort of southron heresy…” — A Clash of Kings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes minimum
This recipe produces a hearty mulled wine, rich in spices. It is heavy and strong, without the sweetness of many modern mulled wines. To accommodate the Old Bear’s preferences, we added raisins, cranberries, and almonds to the 14th-century recipe, creating the ideal drink for those who plan to walk the Wall at night.
-1 bottle inexpensive red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Pinot Noir are all good choices)
-1 ½ tablespoons Poudre Douce (see Cheese-and-Onion Pie, above)
-Handful each of dried cranberries, raisins, and almonds.
Bring the wine to a simmer. Stir in spice, nuts, and dried fruits, and continue to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After sitting, the spice mixture will create a thick residue that will settle to the bottom.
Using a ladle, serve into individual mugs or other heat-safe vessels. Try not to disturb the layer of spices at the bottom of the pot.
To drink: Iced Green Minty Drink
“Slave girls scurried through light and shadow, bearing flagons of ale and wine and some iced green drink that smelled of mint. One table in twenty was occupied at this hour of the morning” — A Dance with Dragons
Prep: 5 minutes
Chilling: 2 hours to overnight
This unique and flavourful beverage is traditional green tea, jazzed up. The sweetness and refreshing mint are well suited to hot days and climates, or for when you just need a nice crisp pick-me-up.
-1/2 tablespoon loose matcha green tea
-4 cups boiling water
-1/4 cup honey, or to taste
-1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
-4 small stalks lemongrass for garnish
Pour the loose tea and boiling water into a 1 to 1 ½-quart teapot and steep the tea for 2 minutes. Stir in honey to taste, followed by the mint leaves, and steep for 3 to 4 minutes longer. At this point, you can either serve the tea hot in small heatproof glasses or chill for a few hours. Serve it garnished with a stalk of lemongrass.
A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook contains over 100 recipes inspired by the regions of Westeros and beyond, and includes a foreward by George RR Martin. It is published by HarperCollins. Buy it here priced £29.99
Game of Thrones returns to Sky Atlantic at 9pm on Monday 1 April