Thursday, March 28, 2013

Game of Thrones: A Meal For Kings

Welcome back, Apprentices! Today we're cooking up the perfect meal for that Game of Thrones premiere. If you're just watching it alone or hanging out with some friends, this meal takes you back to basics with a delicious honey-roasted chicken, roasted veggies, Easy Dragon Tail Bread & a rustic apple tart! Serve it all up with a cold glass of mead and you'll feel like it came from the kitchens of Winterfell! So, fire up that oven and get ready to make a meal fit for Kings! ...unless you're that little twerp, Joffrey, and then you should only get a nice serving of punch-to-the-balls!

This meal may sound like a lot of work but if you plan everything out just right, it's actually quite easy. I recommend preparing the apple tart the day before and storing it in the refrigerator unbaked. It spreads out the workload and allows you to still have a delicious fresh-baked tart on the day without doing all the work that day.

I also included two ways to make Dragon Tail Bread. One easy way with pre-made dough. And the from-scratch way for you over-achievers out there!

So, let's get started! 

Let's begin with the apple tart. This way, you can put it together and stick it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.

Rustic Apple Tart

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 cups of your favorite type apple slices (peeling optional)
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pre-made refrigerated pie crust
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apricot preserves
1 teaspoon water

In a large skillet, melt together the butter, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Using a fork or a small whisk, stir until the sugars dissolve. 

Stir in apples, lemon juice, cinnamon & nutmeg. Using a wooden spoon or heat-resistent, silicone spatula, stir the apples until well coated in butter-sugar mixture. Reduce heat and cover. Let it simmer for about 25 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the apples are tender. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray (Pam). Roll out the pre-made pie crust and arrange cooled apple slices in the center, leaving a 2" border around the edge. Fold the edges up and pinch together at regular intervals until the dough forms a sort of bowl. 

In a small bowl, mix apricot preserves and 1 tsp of water. Microwave (yes, they had microwaves at Winterfell) for one minute until hot and bubbly. Brush the pie crust with apricot mixture and drizzle the remainder on the top of the apples. At this point, if you're going to bake the tart later, cover it completely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

Preheat oven to 400º and bake 45 mins or until the crust is golden brown.  

Honey Roasted Chicken

1 Whole uncooked chicken
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Smoked Salt (Kosher Salt if smoked is unavailable) & Ground Pepper
1/2 Med onion thickly sliced
3 Springs Fresh Rosemary
1 Lime 

* Allow up to 3 hours of total time depending on the size of your chicken. 

Prep your chicken! Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken. This is the grossest part. If you have never done this, you'll need to shove your hand into the belly of the chicken and pull out the liver, heart, gizzard & neck. If you're extremely lucky, the butcher would have placed everything in a sealed bag. I was not that lucky. Once removed, rinse your chicken inside and out.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan with a rack in the bottom.  

Season the inner cavity of the chicken with smoked salt and pepper. Slice lime and onion into wedges and place them into the cavity with the sprigs of rosemary. 

Mix together honey, olive oil, cinnamon, paprika, salt & pepper. Brush the chicken with 1/2 the honey mixture.

TIP* Use butcher's twine to truss up your chicken legs. It keeps the legs close to the bird and helps it cook more evenly. I ran out of butcher's twine for this project so I didn't use it. It's not 100% necessary, but it's helpful.

Pre-heat oven to 350º and place a rack in the center of the oven. Roast chicken for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and brush with the remaining honey mixture. Return the chicken to the oven and roast for another hour. Larger chickens take longer so test the chicken with a meat thermometer and look for internal temperatures around 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Chicken is done when the juices run clear, not pink. The skin should be dark and crisp.

My bird had a bum leg when he got out of the oven but he still tasted delicious!

Roasted Vegetables

6 small red potatoes (cubed)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
2 Zucchini (sliced)
1 1/2 cups cauliflower
1 medium onion
Fresh thyme
Vegetable Oil
salt & pepper

This was the mix I chose. The beauty of roasting vegetables is the fact that you can choose your mix according to what you like. You can use peppers, squash, tomatoes, broccoli...whatever you like! 

Wash & chop your vegetables! Be sure to slice your carrots a little thinner and cube the red potatoes smaller. Carrots and potatoes take longer to roast where the zucchini doesn't take as long. The smaller you chop your veggies, the faster they'll roast. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with vegetable oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. 

Pre-heat oven to 350º and roast for 45 minutes to an hour or until vegetables are fork-tender (remove once during cooking and stir vegetables so they will cook evenly).

 Easy Dragon Tail Bread

1 can pre-made crusty french bread dough (Pillsbury)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Non-stick cooking spray (PAM)

Pre-Heat Oven to 350º & spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Carefully open the can (yes, there is a safety warning on the side of the can) and put the dough on the greased baking sheet, seam-side down.

Using a clean pair of scissors, make a diagonal cut at one end of the loaf, on the top side, creating a sort of flap. You want a fairly deep cut until it looks like this:

Now, pull the flap with the point you created up, stretching it out and then fold it back and over until it looks like this:

Repeat the motion until you have created "scales" all along the length of your "dragon tail" until it looks like this:

Beat your egg white with a fork until it loosens up. With a pastry brush, paint the raw dough with a thin glaze of the egg white. You will not use the entire amount on one loaf. You only want a light coating to guarantee a nice, golden brown finish to your bread.

Place on the center rack and bake 3 minutes. After the first three minutes in the oven, open the door and sprinkle the dough with water. If you have a spray bottle to use, that's awesome. But simply dipping your CLEAN fingers in the water and flicking the water on the loaf works fine. Why do this? Well, that little bit of water during baking gives your crust that wonderful crispness found in all flakey breads. Close the oven and bake for another three minutes. After three minutes, sprinkle with a little more water. 

Now, close the oven and bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

If you want to be hardcore you can make your bread from scratch. My Italian Bread recipe works perfectly for this style of bread.

Dragon Tail Bread (From Scratch)

2 cups water, lukewarm
2 Envelopes Active Dry Yeast
5 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, add brown sugar to warm water and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle all of the yeast onto the surface of the water and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes or until activated (foamy).

In a separate bowl, mix together flour and salt.  I do it this way just to keep myself from getting confused while I'm mixing all the ingredients together. It's easy to lose count if you're just adding the flour from the bag to the mixer.

Once the yeast has foamed up, gradually add flour/salt mixture and blend together on a medium setting, using a dough hook attachment. Once you have combined all your flour into the mixer, drizzle with olive oil and mix until it forms a soft, elastic dough (about 5-10 minutes).

Lightly drizzle a larger bowl with olive oil and remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to the larger bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl, allowing it to be lightly coated in olive oil and cover with plastic wrap.

Let the dough sit in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubled in size (roughly an hour). Once the dough has risen, deflate the dough using your hands. Separate the dough into two balls.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form the balls of dough into cylinders (loaves). Create your dragon tails as illustrated above (or simply create three diagonal cuts at approximately 45º, across the tops of the loaves for traditional Italian bread). Brush with beaten egg white.

Pre-heat the oven to 425º 

Place on the center rack and bake for 3 minutes. Open the oven door and sprinkle/spray the dough evenly with water. Close the door and bake for another 3 minutes. Open the door again and sprinkle/spray evenly with more water. Now, close the door and let bread bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and whack the bread with a wooden spoon. If it sounds hollow, it's done.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this special edition of 8-Bit Cook! I hope it inspired you to try some new things for that season premiere! Remember to join the community on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for all the latest 8-Bit Cook news!


  1. Omg, I am loving this meal! Not only Is it perfect for the Game of Thrones premier, but it's a yummy family dinner anytime. And you make veggies look delicious, which is no easy task. Bravo, 8- bit cook!!

    Simone :)

    1. Awwww! Thanks, Simone! It was quite a delicious meal, if I do say so myself!

  2. This was the most fun meal to make and very delicious!It was my first time making a whole chicken and I am an avid cook, but I was too scared to ever try and oven roast a chicken. Because of this meal, I stepped outside my comfort zone and was rewarded wholeheartedly. This meal has now made it into the recipe book. Hats off to you 8-bit cook! I will be tuned in with heavy anticipation for your next creation!

    1. hey Ashley!

      I'm so glad the meal was such a success! Never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone in the kitchen! The best dishes are usually the result of experimentation! I really appreciate the feedback and hope to see you around in the future! Keep cookin' lady!

  3. This looks so delicious. I'm going to try it soon!