After a long, bitter winter (Wall-style, minus Hodor for company), the Game of Thrones season premiere is finally upon us (Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO). And there will be blood! (Probably.) Those who've read George R.R. Martin's sprawling books already know where this season is heading, but the rest of us are eagerly awaiting resolution (and possibly revenge) after some rather shocking events last year (cough Red Wedding cough).
Before taking the deep dive back into Westeros, you must have strength. And that means fortifying yourself with a Throne-themed meal that's...dare we say...fit for a king?
First Course: Scotch (Dragon) Eggs
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When Daenerys Targaryen miraculously hatched three new dragons from their eggs years after the last dragons were thought to be extinct, it marked a major turning point in her quest for victory. Honor the fearsome spirit of these mythical creatures by making Scotch eggs, which are kind of like regular hard-boiled eggs, but fortified with the strength of sausage.
Second Course: Venison Heart Tartare
The Dothraki, fierce and nomadic horse warriors, have a fondness for horse meat, and they tend to like it raw. In fact, pregnant Dothraki women engage in something called the stallion heart ceremony, in which they tear apart a stallion's raw heart with their bare hands and teeth. According to A Wiki of Ice and Fire, "if she eats the entire heart, she will bear a son who is strong and swift and fearless; if she chokes on the blood or retches up the flesh, the omens were less favorable—the child might be stillborn, weak, deformed or female." Intense! We're fresh out of recipes calling for raw horse meat, but we do have a Nasty Bits chapter on venison heart tartare, a simple and slightly less-messy homage to the stallion heart ceremony.
Third Course: Beef, Ale, and Marmite Pie
In King's Landing, nobility has been known to dine upon lamprey pie, a delicacy consisting of lamprey eels, baked in wine and spices, and covered with a pastry crust like a meat pie. Again, we are lacking in the lamprey recipe department, but we do have this beef, ale, and Marmite pie, which involves the same basic principles: meat, alcohol, spices, and pastry crust. Joffrey would approve.
To Drink: Wine, Beer, and Mead
The drink options for a GoT feast are plentiful. An obvious choice is red wine, a famed export from the hot, dry Dorne region in Westeros, where it's described as tasting "as dark as blood and as sweet as vengeance." In the event that you can't find a bloody, sweet wine, check out our Budget Red Wine Hall of Fame, which has 15 great reds for under $15 apiece. Or, you could make your own mead. Or...you could just buy Ommegang's new special-edition Fire and Blood beer,* brewed with ancho chilies and rye for a spicy kick.
*Note: We haven't actually tasted Fire and Blood beer, so take this suggestion with a grain of salt.
For Dessert: Lemon Sunshine Cookies
A favorite dessert of Sansa Stark's, lemon cakes are described as small enough to be held and eaten with one hand, as opposed to a traditional fork-requiring cake. That sounds more like a cookie than a cake to us, and these tender, double-lemon buttermilk cookies fit the bill perfectly.