Winter is coming: How to eat like House Stark on 'Game of Thrones'
From honey-glazed root vegetables to spicy meats, sharpen your swords and knives for this 'Thrones'-themed dinner.
While as many as two winters may pass before the final season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" series premieres, you need not suffer through them for lack of recipes to warm the body and soul. For inspiration, we're turning away from the sunny dishes that grace the table of House Lannister and focusing on the rich and roasted foodstuffs of House Stark. As "Thrones" set decorator Richard Roberts commented in a behind-the-scenes video, the colder climate means less fruit and more meat.
"Winterfell is far more basic, they haven't got the money, and the produce is different, they're further north. So it's a lot of meat, basically," he said. "And we've got some colors into the root vegetables, and things like that, and a little bit of fruit, but less. The fruit is a big King's Landing thing. But up there, it's quite bleak, it's permanent winters, so it's more root vegetables and meat."
Ready to entertain like a Stark? We've rounded up more than a dozen recipes from our Israeli Kitchen for the occasion. So, sharpen your knife, put aside the sword and sample a taste of the wild north below. Let's start off with a drink...
"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—which was queer, since he always took lemon in his morning beer." - George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
To help guests shake off the cold and warm their bellies, guests at Winterfell are often treated to drinks like mulled cider, beer and spiced wine. If you really want to turn heads around the cocktail bar, offer your friends a cup of grog. While the name might induce second thoughts, the centuries-old drink is actually quite tasty.
"A simple combination of hot water, citrus juice, cinnamon, sugar and rum leads to a surprisingly satisfying hot alcoholic beverage. It's been around for hundreds of years, to the point where the word 'grog' has come to mean anything alcoholic in Australia, and any mixed drink in Sweden."
"The beer was brown, the bread black, the stew a creamy white. She served it in a trencher hollowed out of a stale loaf. It was thick with leeks, carrots, barley, and turnips white and yellow, along with clams and chunks of cod and crabmeat, swimming in a stock of heavy cream and butter. It was the sort of stew that warmed a man right down to his bones, just the thing for a wet, cold night." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons
Once you've calmed the shivering masses with warming cheer, it's time to begin rousing their tastebuds with an opening salvo of light and spicy appetizers. To counter the cold winds whipping outside, we imagine the tables of House Stark would overflow with portions of winter salad with feta dressing, roasted parsnip and curry hummus, simple deviled eggs, and vegetable bean soup.
With spicy seasonings a warmly embraced part of northern palates, we could also imagine Winterfell serving its own version of the cast iron dish shakshouka. Featuring tomatoes, eggs and meat, this popular Mediterranean staple is increasingly showing up in gourmet eateries and kitchens around the world. The secret to its success? A North African paste called harissa that adds both complexity and heat to any dish.
"The wedding guests gorged on cod cakes and winter squash, hills of neeps and great round wheels of cheese, on smoking slabs of mutton and beef ribs charred almost black, and lastly on three great wedding pies, as wide across as wagon wheels, their flaky crusts stuffed to bursting with carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, and chunks of seasoned pork swimming in a savory brown gravy.” - George R.R. Martin, A Dance of Dragons.
It's time to rally the kitchen and prepare for the main assault! To counter the cold winds and ice swirling outside your domestic fortress, we recommend raising the banner on main dishes like saffron rice with winter vegetables, chicken with onions and roasted chicken with figs.
As alternatives to the North's preference for meats like wild boar and pigeon pie, we suggest slow-cooked beef in a white wine gravy, beef short ribs braised in wine, and hot baked crowd pleasers like shepherd's, tortilla and vegetable pie.
"For the sweet, Lord Caswell’s servants brought down trays of pastries from his castle kitchens, cream swans and spun-sugar unicorns, lemon cakes in the shape of roses, spiced honey biscuits and blackberry tarts, apple crisps and wheels of buttery cheese.” - George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings.
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