Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Braised Venison with Mushrooms

2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 1/2 pounds venison, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)
2 cups dry red wine
1 cube beef bouillon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 (8 ounce) package baby carrots
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons water

Melt the bacon drippings in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the venison in two batches until nicely browned and remove. Stir in the shiitake, onions, and garlic; cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the cognac, wine, and bouillon cube, simmer for 30 seconds to remove the alcohol flavor and dissolve the bouillon.
Stir in the venison, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the venison is tender, about two hours or more; adding water as needed.
If using baby carrots, add them during the last half hour of cooking. When the venison is tender, you may wish to thicken the sauce by dissolving the flour in 2 tablespoons of water and stirring it into the sauce.

Fish Stew

1/2 large onion
1/4 cup butter ot margarine
2 cups water
3 cups diced, peeled potatoes
1 pound fresh or frozen cod fillets, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup milk
1 (12 fl oz) can of evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute onion in butter. Add water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes; cook for 10 minutes. Add fish and lemon juice; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk, evaporated milk, salt and pepper and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Serve in a bread trencher.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Trout baked in Clay

18–21 dried cornhusks (the kind used to make tamales)
18pounds nontoxic Terra Cotta Cone 04 to 5 clay (about 3 pounds per trout)
6whole fresh trout, about 12 ounces each
teaspoons kosher or sea salt
teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
12green onions, grilled
12large sprigs thyme
12sprigs whole fresh sage, or 18 sage leaves
12strips applewood-smoked bacon

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Soak cornhusks in warm water about 10 minutes, until soft and pliable. Remove from water and set aside.
Divide clay in six equal portions and cut one portion in half. On flat work surface or cutting board, use rolling pin to roll out, as you would pastry dough, each of the two lumps of clay to about ¼ inch thick. Make sure clay is about 1 inch larger than trout on all sides.
Open each trout, and season inside with salt and pepper. Stuff 2 grilled green onions into cavity, then add 2 sprigs thyme and 2 sprigs sage (or 3 sage leaves). Fold trout halves together. Wrap two strips bacon around fish, one near the head, the other near the tail.
Arrange two cornhusk sections with tapered ends pointing outward, to form a sort of cornhusk canoe. Wrap trout in husks, placing a third section of cornhusk on top. Overlap cornhusks so that no part of trout is exposed. Using cornhusk ties (rip one husk into small strips), tie cornhusk securely around fish at nose and tail, making sure fish is completely covered by husks. (You’ll need 3 cornhusks for each trout; depending on size, some may require a fourth husk.) Cornhusks help fish bake evenly and keep it from sticking to clay.
Place both pieces of rolled-out clay lengthwise on work surface. Place cornhusk-wrapped trout on one piece of clay, cover with second piece, and pinch edges together to seal. With knife, make 3–5 slits in top layer of clay. Place on baking sheet and set aside.
Repeat above steps until all trout are stuffed, wrapped in bacon and cornhusks, and sealed in clay.
Place clay-covered trout on baking sheet and bake in oven 20 minutes. (I usually use both oven racks, with 2–3 trout on each sheet.)
Trout is completely baked when color of clay has changed from dark to light; remove from oven. When clay is cool enough to handle, crack open with kitchen mallet. Clay will easily peel away from cornhusks and can be saved for future use.
Serve trout whole in husks, or cut off head and tail, make an incision down backbone of each fish, and remove spine, resulting in two fillets.

Making the "eight" on a Plate

The HBO Game of Thrones adaption added a new scene and a new phrase: "Making the Eight".  They even have a tee-shirt with a map and 8 "X"s.  A discussion about the kind of person who would wear this shirt, especially at conventions, really spoiled my amusement with it.

Then I thought that if women can take back "bitch" and "slut" and own them, maybe we non-pervs can take back "the Eight."

My idea is to "make the eight on a plate."  A dish from each of the eight regions highlighted on the shirt/map.
As much as I can, I'll use examples from the books.  Where I don't have examples, I'll look for authentic medieval recipes or close adaptions. (Click the links for the recipes)

1)  The North:  Honeyed Chicken, listed as part of the feast to welcome King Robert to the North (GoT).
2)  The Riverlands:  Trout Baked in Clay.  This is actually served during the feast after day one of the Hand's Tourney, (Jeoffery shared it with Sansa (GoT)) but with the trout being the fish of the Tully's I felt it was a good dish for the Riverlands.
3) The Iron Islands: Fish Stew with a thick cream sauce in a trencher of bread eaten by Theon at the "feast" on Pyke with his father and sister (CoK).
4) The Eyrie:
5) Lannisport/ The West Lands:  Henne Dorre (Golden Cardamon Chicken).  It took me a while to figure up a dish from the Westlands.  I haven't found any textual evidence of a specialty dish from here, so I went with a dish colored 'gold' in honor if the Lannisters.
6) Highgarden:   Baked Pears.  While a lot of the items served at the feast Cat attends in ACoK seem to be common throught the kingdom, the one that that always seems to be mentioned if fruit.  I think the pears would be the perfect dish to represent Highgarden.
7) Storms End: Braised Venison with Mushrooms. I haven't found anything yet in the books that is a dish from this area, but based on two things, I think it would be fair to assume venison would have been plentiful in the area: 1: the arms of Storms End is a stag's rack; 2) the location, near the Kingswood.
8) Dorne:  Dornish Eggs with Hot Peppers. On the day of Joffery's wedding (SoS), Sansa tries this dish, but finds it too hot.