Thronesgiving 2016: Drunken & Stuffed Pork Loin & a Cake of Spice and Fire

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Welcome back, friends in fandom-foodie-ism, to the final post recapping our Game of Thrones premier feast. Hold on to your direwolves, folks! This week’s recipes are going straight to King’s Landing for a swipe at the Iron Throne.

After some lemon cakes from Highgarden, butternut squash and apple soup, and beer bread pudding from the North, braised fennel from Dorne, and rabbit pie from the best baker on the Kingsroad, our final entree is based on the excess of King Robert, himself.

First I took a ten-pound pork loin from Costco, cut it in half, butterflied it, drowned it in drink from the Reach, and sent it through the forest for at least a day. Or if you want to get literal, I let it steep in a marinade of red wine, apple cider vinegar, and fresh rosemary.

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The next day I made a filling of apples, sweet onions, medieval spice blend poudre fort, and white cheddar. Then I rolled the mix into the pork in a giant pinwheel, brushed that down with dijon mustard and coated the whole lot with a crust of crushed almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts before roasting it in the oven.

You can use whatever nuts you’d like. I had overestimated how much almond I needed for the lemoncakes and had quite a bit of crushed leftover — which was good because I did not have enough walnuts and hazelnuts.

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I had also overestimated how much pork I needed. One five-pound half of the loin was enough to feed all of my guests. Of course after five other sides, one would hardly be able to manage more than a single slice of the pig that felled Robert Baratheon. I was cutting up the leftovers for chili, pasta sauce, and stew the following two weeks.

I will note that this was the first time I’ve butterflied a pork loin. This tutorial could probably teach you how to do it better than I can with my lack of practice. Also note this tutorial for tying the roast together with twine as my burned hand required me to delegate the task to my ever-so-patient husband.

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Drunken and Stuffed Pork Loin

Serves 8-12
Equipment: Large zip-lock bag, large skillet, roasting pan, pastry brush, kitchen twine, oven.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb boneless pork loin, trimmed of excess fat and butterflied
  • 2 cups burgundy or red wine
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • large branch rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 red delicious apple, cored and small diced
  • 1 green apple, cored and small diced
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or molasses
  • 1 tablespoon poudre forte
  • large pinch salt
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons dijon or grainy mustard
  • 2-3 cups crushed nuts

Instructions:

  1. Place butterflied pork loin in zip-lock bag with wine, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and rosemary. Zip closed and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Take bag out of the fridge before preparing the filling ingredients. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apple onion, brown sugar, poudre forte, and salt. Stir and cook until tender. Remove from heat and cool completely before mixing in the cheese. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  3. Remove the pork loin from marinade bag. Unroll the loin on a clean surface so the long edge is horizontal to you. Spoon the filling onto the meat, making sure to leave an inch clearance on the top, bottom, and one of the sides. Leave a 2-3 inch clearance on the other side.
  4. Roll up the loin starting on the side edge with the 1-inch clearance like a jelly roll. Tie the roll tight with butcher’s twine and transfer, seam side down, to a prepared roasting pan. Brush all exposed surfaces of the meat with mustard and coat with crushed nuts. Roast the pork in the oven 40-50 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temp of 145 F.
  5. Remove pork from the oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before cutting twine and serving.
Tip:

Reserve 2-3 cups of marinade if you want to make a gravy and discard the rest. Reduce marinade in a saucepan and thicken with a roux made from two tablespoons and unsalted butter or bacon grease, two tablespoons of flour. Add salt to taste.


So what kind of person would I be if I didn’t finish this feast with some dessert? Now if you troll ThinkGeek like I do, I know you’ve seen the Dragon Bundt Cake Pan. I told you I would make this cake with a real, gluten free dragon. Last time I checked, aluminum is gluten free.

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For this recipe I wanted to show off the detailed nooks and crannies without skimping out on flavor. I opted to adapt a basic carrot cake recipe, adding dried blueberries, poudre forte, ground thyme, and crushed almonds for a very rustic texture. I had initially thought I would make a glaze using the Tyroshi Pear Brandy I made up last year from The Official Game of Thrones Cookbook. I ran out of time, but turns out it didn’t need it. It was more than delicious on its own.

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Now if you can risk a little gluten, I would actually recommend using a baking spray like Baker’s Joy to prepare the dragon pan. This spray does have a little flour so it is not safe at all for those with strong gluten sensitivities. If gluten is completely out of the question, I believe coconut oil spray is a good alternative. I used the former and my cake popped right out of the pan without any resistance.

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A Cake of Spice and Fire

Serves 12-14
Equipment: Bundt cake pan, oven.

Ingredients:

  • Baking spray or coconut oil spray for gluten-free
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon poudre fort
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup dried blue berries
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray the pan with baking spray, making sure to hit every interior surface and cranny. Allow to sit while you are preparing the cake.
  2. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl with the oil, sugar, salt, and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl or container, thoroughly mix the flour, baking soda, and xanthan gum. Gradually add and stir this mix into the wet ingredients. Fold in the blueberries, carrots, and almonds.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack or serving plate. Allow to cool completely before serving.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little culinary tour through Westeros. Next week we’ll return to our regular, non-Game of Thrones exclusive content. Happy Thronesgiving to ya’ll, and see ya soon!

The Gluttonous Geek