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Happy Game of Thrones Day!

What? Surprised? A food blog with no Easter recipe on Easter? The horror!

I figured, every other food blog you probably check out will be doing something for Easter, so why add to the pile? Against the stream, I say!

So while I celebrate Easter with my family, my blog will be here celebrating the premier of Game of Thrones’  third season which airs tonight on HBO. Sadly, I don’t have HBO right now but I’m still reading the book, so that counts, right? Which, thanks to the kindness of the Moon of my Life, I get to watch tonight! Woo hoo!! Game of Thrones viewing party at my house!

I got into the show a few months after the first season was over, but I’ve been absolutely hooked ever since. The story, the characters, the world—it’s easily one of my favorite shows to follow. If you’ve followed my blog and actually read what I write, you would have noticed a few head nods to Game of Thrones along with countless other nerdy things. I’ve been dying for a reason to dedicate a post to it and I know this is the perfect time.

You would probably think there’s not much correlation between food and Game of Thrones, but you’d be pleasantly surprised thanks to a blog and a cookbook.

Cookbooks… I used to love buying cookbooks. But it’s been a long time since I’ve had the urge to want to spend money on something that I could just find online. I’ll even admit when I saw there was an official Game of Thrones cookbook, there was a little part of me that wanted to check it out, but overall I wasn’t too excited about it. When I think of official cookbooks of movies or shows, I tend to imagine it being a bunch of random, uninspired “inspired” recipes named after certain things from whatever it was accompanying. So I didn’t even bother giving it a chance.

Then I stumbled onto The Inn at the Crossroads.

An official Game of Thrones food blog?! Heck yeah, I’ll check that out! What do I have to lose? I quickly noticed it was ran by the same authors of the official cookbook, so I became even more intrigued. While looking around I couldn’t help but be taken back by how well put together everything was. It wasn’t just Game of Thrones names and terminology slapped on bland recipes. Everything was something that was mentioned somewhere in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It was all well researched, finely executed, and just downright awesome. Mostly every recipe even had two versions—the medieval version which is where all the research came in, and the more modern version which seemed to be the authors interpretations of how they read the described dishes in the books. It wasn’t until I checked out the food blog that I knew I wanted needed the cookbook.

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones and a lover of food, check out A Feast of Ice and Fire the next time you’re in a bookstore. I’ve yet to pick up my copy but that will be remedied in the next few weeks. Done!

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Being able to get through some of the recipes and the awesome introduction by George R. R. Martin, It’s easy to see this is a great addition to my cookbook shelf. Not only am I wanting to make everything I read, but it actually feels like you’re reading recipes from the kitchens of Westeros. I’m going through this as if it were an actual book, so don’t be surprised if you see a review pop up here in a few weeks.

Now that I’ve introduced the source, let’s get onto business.

Really wanting to make something from The Inn at the Crossroads, I narrowed it down and figured out what I wanted to dip my hand in. But I wasn’t truly excited until I saw a picture of it. Gods be good, this thing looks amazing. Not only does it scream, “Look at me!” it’s also an amazing meal. The harmonic flavors of the beef and the vegetables, enhanced by the saltiness (and awesomeness) of the bacon lattice, all held together with a buttery, flaky crust… you’ll wish you could grab a blanket and sleep at the dinner table. It’s very medieval in its ingredients and presentation and I think it’s the perfect meal to ring in the new season of Game of Thrones.

This recipe is found in A Feast of Ice and Fire, by Chelsea and Sariann, but can also be found on Helen Browning’s Organic website.

Beef and Bacon Pie

2 tablespoons ~ Butter
1 each ~ Onion, medium, diced
1 each ~ Carrot, cut small
1/2 cup ~ Peas, frozen
1 each ~ Potato, large, cubed
1 ½ pounds ~ Chuck Steak, cubed
2 tablespoons ~ All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup ~ Beef Broth
½ teaspoon ~ Dried Rosemary
½ teaspoon ~ Dried Thyme
to taste ~ Salt and Pepper

At least 12 strips of Bacon

Prepared Pie Dough

Notes:

  • The recipe is for a 9 inch pie. As you could tell, I went the more personal route and made smaller, individual pies in soup crocks. If you can make this in a shoe, then by all means go nuts. It’s up to you and how you want to do it.
  • You can make your own pie crust or buy the already made stuff if making your own scares you for some reason.
  • The original recipe gave a choice of using Chuck Steak or Stew Meat as the beef. I would imagine if you wanted to use another similar alternative you could.
  • Don’t skimp on the bacon. I made the mistake of buying some cheap bacon and I paid for it in numerous ways. One way being it shrinking immensely when baking. If you’re going to do something like this, you want the presentation to be spot on, so get a nice thick cut bacon that won’t be a pain make into a lattice.
  • The lattice… If you’ve never made a lattice before, like me, then don’t fret. It’s extremely easy. I could show you a step by step process on how to do it with pictures and such, but why do that when you could watch this crazy helpful video on how to make a bacon lattice?

Ok, don’t let the pie psyche you out. This is actually fairly easy to make if you take it one step at a time. So let’s get on with it

First thing you want to get out of the way is the lattice. Unless of course you’re making your own pie crust, which in that case, you should do that at least 4 hours before you start making this pie. Why 4 hours? I dunno, maybe you should read the post I linked to for the pie crust. If you ask me, you should always have pie dough ready to go in your freezer. Life is safer that way.

  • Turn on the oven to 400 and get a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Just follow the instructions in the video I linked to in the notes and you’ll be fine. Make your lattice on the sheet pan so you could just pop it in the oven. I also added some cracked pepper to mine because for some reason it’s impossible for me to cook bacon without cracking some pepper on it.

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  • Put your amazing bacon lattice (by definition, all bacon lattices are amazing so don’t get cocky) in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. You’re looking for it to be done and crispy. When it’s done set it aside.

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  • Get a fairly big pan and heat up your butter. To it add the onions, potatoes, peas and carrots and cook it until the onions are cooked and translucent.

What I would do next is remove the vegetables from the pan and set them aside. You have a lot of veggies and a lot of meat so it would be easier to do them separate especially since you want a nice sear (which I didn’t get because I was a fool and didn’t do this).

  • So take your diced meat, season it with salt and pepper and give it a nice coat of flour. If the pan needs it, add some more butter and then toss the meat in until it’s nice and browned. When it’s browned, add the veggies back along with the remainder of the flour. Give it a good stir.
  • Next add the broth and seasonings, stir it and cook for about 10 minutes until a gravy forms. Once it forms taste it, adjust the seasonings, then set aside and let it cool. The way this tastes now is basically what the finished product will taste like, so make sure you’re happy with it. Don’t be afraid to add more herbs or more salt if you think it needs it (remember the rule of salt: you can always add but can never take away). If you feel crazy go ahead and add other spices or herbs if you have them and think they’ll work. It’s always good to stay true to the recipe, especially if it was intended to be a certain way. But if you feel like something is missing you have to fix it. 

I know you’re going to be tempted to just throw it in the pie shell right away, but I say patience. I added the meat to the pie before it was cooled down and it came out good, but the bottom of the crust was soggy and almost non existent. I’m not sure if this was from adding it while it was still hot, but I have a feeling it was. So let the meat and gravy cool down. Take a break if you have to. Pour yourself a horn full of Ale. Watch some Game of Thrones. Do something.

Oh, I know! You could roll the dough!

  • Get your pie dough out and roll it on a floured surface. I like it about a 1/4 of an inch thick because I like a nice crust. If you bought the ready made stuff then just ignore this incredibly fun step that you’ll miss out on because you were too scared to make your own.
  • Go ahead and put the dough in your dish. Let some hang over the edge because you’re going to be folding it over your bacon lattice.

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Speaking of which, hold it over your pie dish and just make sure it’s going to fit inside of it. If it’s completely covering or overlapping the edges, crumble it off and just throw it in the pie. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The edges will be covered by the pie crust.

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  • After the stew (which is basically what it is) has cooled, take a pair of tongs and put the meat and veggies in the empty pie shell.

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If you have a lot of gravy, don’t go crazy and drown the meat and veggies in the pie. The recipe should give you a perfect amount of gravy to where it’s a nice coat, but just in case you put more broth, be careful with how much goes in the pie. 

  • Place the bacon lattice on top of the meat and veggies and then check how much of the pie crust is needed. Cut off the excess and fold or crinkle the pie crust over the edge of the lattice. When done, it should look something like this.

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  • Put it in the 400° oven for 40 minutes. If the edges of the pie start getting too brown before the 40 minutes, just take some foil and wrap it around the edges.

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When the 40 minutes are up, I hope you’re ready to feast because it will be freaking on.

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I hope you enjoy it if you decide to make it. I know it sounds like a lot of work but it’s easy stuff and it all pays off in the end.

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And here’s to the premier of season 3 starting tonight!! Try and remember I don’t have HBO right now so let’s keep the spoilers at a minimum until I can catch up. Be sure to Circle me on my non-blog Google+ page so we can talk about the episodes!

I hope everyone’s Easter is a blessed one! Enjoy!

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