Tag Archives: Beef

Beef and Bacon Pie with Onions In Gravy | “Game of Thrones”

by Blake Stilwell of (according to numerous online Game of Thrones-based personality tests) House Baratheon.

"Our Favorite Food"

“Ours is Our Favorite Food”

I actually believe if House Stilwell had a place in Westeros, our sigil would likely be a fat bear, wearing a bib and drinking  two fingers of scotch. I also think this is probably Robert Baratheon’s personal sigil, one he just never talked about.  But this isn’t about me, this is a celebration!

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This month, HBO dropped the latest season of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray, a gift for which I have already pre-ordered for my mother (it was her Christmas gift. Don’t judge me. I got schmaltzy gifts for her for the past five years and I think she actually liked this much better). Of course I didn’t wait for this to watch. Who possibly could? To celebrate this momentous occasion (and maybe have it available for this year’s premiere of Season Four), As Eaten brings you something as epic as the Game of Thrones theme song: a hearty dish from the North!

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Not that far North.

No, not Ygritte. It’s a Beef and Bacon Pie, from the lands around Winterfell! The recipe comes from A Feast of Ice and Fire: the Official Game of Thrones Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, based on their blog Inn At The Crossroads. This book is more than a recipe book. Its an exhaustively-researched history of food and medieval cookery. It’s a fascinating mix of narrative and historical context. I highly recommend this. It’s so much more than a cookbook. And if you’re throwing a Game of Thrones-themed party, you will not find a better companion!

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Well.. maybe one better companion…

The North of Westeros is a vast, cold place. As such, the food tends to toward what we in the US call “comfort food.” They are heavy, hearty plates, full of meats, gravies, breads, and such. This recipe is no different. The difference is where the comfort food in the US can be bland at times, save the use of salt and pepper, the use of fruits and spices in this  meat mixture brings a unique, exotic flavor.

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It’ll taste better than you think it will.

But you’ll need to start with the medieval pastry dough. There is a special recipe, and the first ingredient should be an indicator of the uniqueness of flavors I’m talking about. If it sounds weird that the North of Westeros uses Saffron in its baking doughs, there is a very interesting explanation, based in both the lore of the Game of Thrones universe as well as Medieval History, thoroughly researched and presented to the reader. It’s really a good read. And it’s delicious.

Pinch of Saffron
1/2 C Water
1/2 C Unsalted Butter
3 C Flour 2 Egg Yolks, beaten

Dissolve the saffron in the water. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until there are only crumb-sized pieces. Add the egg yolks and saffron water until the mixture is sticky. To pre-bake a shell, line a pan with thin-rolled dough.use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the pastry shells. Bake for 10 minutes at 350° F.

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Beef and Bacon Pie

The book offers two recipes, a modern version and a medieval version. The recipe I used from this book is more of the medieval sort, which I think more appropriate, given the setting of the show and books.

1/2 c thick-cut bacon, diced
1 1/2 lbs stew beef, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c prunes
1/3 c raisins
1/3 c dates pitted and chopped
1 c beef broth
2-3 tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Cook the bacon in a saucepan until the fat runs from it, then drain off the fat. To the bacon pan, add the beef, spices, vinegar, and fruits. Add enough broth to wet the mixture until its runny. Mix in the flour and cook until the juices form a gravy. Cool the mixture. Line a 9-inch pie pan with a pastry dough and fill it with the meat mixture.

The book calls for a pastry lid. But the book has a great photo of a pie with a bacon lattice lid, so we decided to go with this because it was so much more epic. We used the remaining chewy bacon that wasn’t quite crispy to form the lattice so it would crips in the oven. The fruit will melt as the pie bakes and form a sweet, salty, savory mix of flavors that is absolutely fantastic.

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Onions in Gravy

10 oz boiler or pearl onions
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sprig of freshly chopped savory herb, such as rosemary or thyme
1/3 c apple cider
1 tbsp flour
3 c beef stock
Splash of Brandy

Clean and peel the onions. Quarter seven of them and put the rest aside. In a deep frying pan, add the honey, herbs, and quartered onions.make sure the onions get covered with the honey-butter mixture, cook for 8 minutes, browning the onions. Add the cider to the pan in three distinct splashes. let the cider heat between splashes. Sprinkle flour into the pan and form a gravy. Add the stock and the rest of the onions and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and reduce until it has a thicker, more gravy-like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. We garnished with rosemary because it looked nice and we had some left over.

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This one-two punch combination of sweet and savory is a filling, hearty meal fit for you or any Stark. Any Stark that may still be alive, that is.

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Cheesy Blasters | “30 Rock”

by Blake Stilwell

We’ve been getting down to some really great food lately, from some really great viewing. I think it’s time for two things: First, a return to some quality junk food. Second, an homage to one of the dearly departed shows from last season. A lot of TV left us last season, and they ranged in quality on a scale of “Whitney” to “The Office” (which should have been put out of its misery long ago, actually).

Though I’m not as heartbroken about most of them as I was when NBC cancelled “My Name Is Earl” (WELL before it’s time and the primary reason for my grudge against Ben Silverman), I do miss 30 Rock. I didn’t love the show at first, because the first season was just not that great, in my opinion. But it got better. So much better. Comedy, when used to point out flaws in a society, is the highest form of art. This is what 30 Rock became and deserves it’s inclusion with other comedic classics, like Archie Bunker, M*A*S*H and everything George Carlin ever said, did or wrote. It should also be part of our one-stop visit to junk food, because it’s the holiday season and we’re expected to gain a few pounds. We can’t disappoint.

Season four of 30 Rock begins with a jab at the trend of unhealthy food in America. This first scene actually takes a jab at so many things that 30 Rock would come to address throughout the season, such as the perception of the “Real America.” Below is just the appearances of the Cheesy Blasters, from two different episodes.

The recipe, as mentioned by Liz Lemon, is pretty straightforward. This is good for me because my cooking means are limited until next year. It’s good for you because this cheesy delight is also pretty easy to make. (And I have to admit… they’re pretty good.) So this recipe isn’t so much as what ingredients to use, but more so how to cook them into the best Cheesy Blaster one could muster.

For the jack cheese, I went with Monterey Jack, because it’s all I could find where I am. But it was a good choice. If I were in the States, I would have gone for Pepper Jack, because I’m spicy like that. Monterey, while a little less flavorful, is still a perfect accompaniment to the beef franks.

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And both are as American as Jack Donaghy.

I’m going to come right out and announce that I don’t like to boil hot dogs. I don’t eat them a lot, but when I do, I want them to at least have a little flavor (without knowing what went into them). As we all know, unless you’re adding something to the water, boiling sucks the flavor right out. This is probably why Liz Lemon uses cheese instead of water when making stew.

So I cut the (all-beef) dogs length-wise and stuffed the cheese in there, so as to cook them while melting the cheese.

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Next, I cooked up a pizza. It surprised me how popular as pizza is here in the Palestinian Territory, but it was still very difficult to find a hot dog-sized one. I recommend a smaller, personal pizza in retrospect, because cutting up awkward slices of pizza to wrap around a hot dog takes more time than you want to use on this. Also, cook the pizza first and then start the hot dogs when the pizza has about five minutes left. Doing it the other way around just allows the cheese to congeal. It’s important to remember that Time is not on your side.

Once the cheese is good and melty and the hot dogs are done, take those dogs and wrap it in the pizza. You got Cheesy Blasters.

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Thanks, Meat Cat.

Due to the awkward nature of the pizza, I had to go for a less burrito-style and more of a taco-style wrap. Burritos are a guaranteed disaster at certain times anyway.

These are like the McGangbang, they look revolting and are definitely not something you should eat regularly, but they taste surprisingly good, and even more surprising, the texture is good as well. Definitely high-grade junk food.

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Creamed Chipped Beef | “Band of Brothers”

by Blake Stilwell

There’s a new thing happening here in the nation’s capital: Sequester. Some people don’t know what it is, others don’t know what it means. I’m not even really sure. But if the national and international news media are to believed, we’re surely headed for economic calamity. In honor of our upcoming fiscal doom and/or gloom, I’m going  to make the (in)famous Depression Era favorite and American Midwest staple dish, Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast. Or as Easy Company, 506th Infantry Regiment called it:

SOS, S**t on a Shingle.

That's the line for the bathroom.

That’s the line for the latrine.

If you haven’t read this book (you should), you may have seen the HBO Miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. It also starred Damian Lewis, who is now on Showtime’s Homeland, Ron Livingston from Office Space, and even had David Schwimmer, who will always be Ross from Friends whether he wants to be or notThe men of Easy Company were all also real people and the incredibly astonishing things they did to change the history of the world in the book and on the show REALLY HAPPENED.

There’s a reason they’re legendary.

"Sir, did you know one of the guys from New Kids on the Block got the role of Sgt. Lipton? I didn't see that coming."

“Sir, did you know one of the guys from New Kids on the Block got the role of Sgt. Lipton? I didn’t see that coming.”

The US Armed Forces didn’t make it easier on these poor guys either, because Creamed Chipped Beef also really happened. The guys who bravely captured fortress Europe and liberated everything in their way were probably forced to eat it on more than one occasion. In his book, Stephen Ambrose mentions its consumption while Easy Company is still Stateside:

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There’s a definitive reason it was the Army’s favorite meal for deployed troops. If a seasoned grocery shopper were to read the ingredients list, the reason would soon become apparent. Take  look at this page from the 1945 Manual for Navy Cooks:

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Everything on it is either really cheap or leftover from another meal! I don’t blame the military, it’s a cheap way to give troops a hot meal. As a veteran myself, I can testify that a hot meal at a chow hall is sometimes the only comfort you can get out there. I can also attest to the fact that the military STILL SERVES THIS. They just replace the dried chipped beef with ground hamburger or sausage (they try to assure everyone it’s like a sausage gravy, but it isn’t. It really is not). Thanks, Obama.

On to the recipe: It calls for 1 3/4 Gallon of dried chipped beef, 5 gallons of milk, 1 quart of fat (animal unimportant), 2 1/2 quarts of flour, 1 3/4 tablespoon of pepper, and 100 slices of toasted bread. If you’re not having a hundred 90 year old World War II veterans over for dinner later (though we all probably should be every night), you can break it down like this:

3 c Dried, Chipped Beef (this will be found in the lunchmeat section, next to bologna, where it belongs)

7 1/2 c Milk (Lactaid will work for this)

1/3 c Fat (animal still unimportant, but I recommend bacon. I always recommend bacon)

1 c Flour

1/2 tsp Pepper (or just pepper to taste, rationing is over. We won the war, after all)

Disclaimer: This is going to taste bland at first, but I really recommend you wait until the dish is cooked before adding extra salt. The beef is salty and so might the fat be (especially if you used bacon fat), so adding extra salt during prep might make this dish awful in an unexpected way.

Yes, a different kind of awful.

Yes, a different kind of awful.

First, chop the beef. Then melt the fat and mix with flour until it forms a smooth paste, almost like a roux. Bring the milk to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Add the fat flour, and stir til it thickens, then add the chopped beef and pepper and stir well. Simmer for ten minutes and serve over your shingles (toast).

Be warned: adding flour directly to the milk, instead of making the fat roux will result in lumpy, horribly thick cream that even a blender can’t help you fix. Be sure to follow orders on this one. It will ruin the texture of the whole meal. Speaking of texture, be sure to start eating once it’s on the toast. Nothing gets mushy quite as fast as toasted white bread.

My SOS

My SOS

 Now it’s confession time. My mama used to make this for us all the time when my siblings and I were growing up. This dish is in entrenched in my heart. The smell of it makes me homesick (it has a very unique smell) and I will always love the taste of it because it is a piece of home. I was horrified and disappointed to see the Army Chow Hall use ground beef and/or sausage in it, but not surprised. Any one can make this. It’s a fairly simple white sauce with a salty beef twist.

The best part is if no one likes it, or you mess it up (which is still possible) it only cost you ten dollars or so to make,which is a price to be appreciated by any furloughed federal employee, not just the retired federal employees who fought the Nazis.

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