Only a few weeks stand between us and the final season of Game of Thrones. Winter is coming, folks. It means it’s time for us to throw a final #Thronesgiving feast celebrating dining, dragons, and Peter Dinklage. Last week we spent Winter with a pumpkin and shellfish chowder inspired by the Stark Sisters. This week we lunch with the Lannister siblings in a recipe for wine marinated duck breast inspired by Tyrion, and a Cersei-inspired late summer salad.
Click here to jump to the recipe for Cersei’s Late Summer Salad.
Click here to jump to the recipe for Tyrion’s Duck Tits & Wine-Poached Pears.
A Lannister Still Has Claws
The three Lannisters, Cersei, Tyrion, and Jaime all suffer in the shadows of their father’s legacy. Tywin Lannister, the shrewd lord of Casterly Rock, brought the family name up from ruin with an iron resolve and a fist of gold. The phrase “A Lannister always pays his debts” comes from Tywin’s dedication to always earn respect owed to his name. Tywin fought and sacrificed everything to restore his house. He expects a similar commitment from all three of his children, but his children have different ideas of what it means to be a Lannister, and yet a better understanding than he gives them credit for.
Tywin tells his chosen heir, Jaime, “Before long I’ll be dead, and you and your brother and your sister and all of her children, all of us dead, all of us rotting in the ground. It’s the family name that lives on. It’s all that lives on. Not your personal glory, not your honor… but family.” Jaime has no love for the name, having been thrust every which direction with no regard to his or his family’s happiness.
As technically the oldest sibling, Cersei idolizes and despises Tywin. She sees herself as Tywin’s true heir matching in wit, ruthlessness, and resolve. She curses her gender as it prevents her from holding the respect owed to her father. And when she takes the crown, she emulates Tywin’s colors, style of dress, and mannerisms. With her family all but almost buried, she seeks to burn down all those who dare stand against her and the Lannister name, even if that means leaving the rains to weep over a land of ashes, with no one else to hear.
Tyrion, though named a bastard by his own father, probably understands and acts the most like him. In the books, his aunt even says that Tyrion is his father’s son. Raised with no expectation of holding his father’s name and glory, Tyrion seeks only the love and approval owed to a family member. Yet it is also Tyrion, who like Tywin when young, recognizes the behavior in his relatives that will bring about the family’s ruin.
Even now as he serves the dragon, it is also to return the respectability lost by Cersei and Joffrey. Tywin knew better than to back the losing side during Robert’s Rebellion. Tyrion, however, takes it a step further by seeking to support the right side of history. Even if he cannot save his siblings, he can at least restore their name.
Sing For Your Supper
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“So we fight and die, or we submit and die.”
For Cersei’s dish, I wanted to highlight her resolve to get what she wants regardless of the consequences. Winter is upon Westeros. The Long Night comes. Yet Cersei believes herself a formidable foe against death itself. She will hold onto her crown and defend it through ice and dragon fire.
Feasting in the face of danger to spite her enemies seems like something she would do, so I made her a salad of late summer fruits and vegetables as a last hurrah before snowflakes fall. For the greens, I made up a fragrant mix of summer scents – arugula, dill, and mint. I then tossed lemon-marinated fennel and blackberries onto it with some walnuts and goat cheese.
Since Cersei Lannister loves her Arbor Gold wine, I whipped up a dressing using white wine vinegar and sweet vermouth. The vinegar represents her love gone sour. While vermouth, a fortified wine, serves as the sweetness and confidence she finds in destroying her enemies.
A Coat of Gold
Cersei's End of Summer Salad
Equipment: Kitchen knife, cutting board, three mixing bowls, zester or fine grater, and wire whisk.
- 1/2 bulb of fennel, stalks and fronds removed
- 1 lemon
- kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sweet vermouth
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 cups fresh dill fronds
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
- 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
- Zest the lemon then slice it into quarters. Remove the seeds and squeeze the juice into one of the mixing bowls. Place the zest in another bowl.
- Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and remove the core. Then turn the bulb and slice it thinly crosswise. Toss the fennel slices with a pinch or two of kosher salt in the bowl of lemon juice and let sit.
- In the bowl of lemon zest, add the mustard and white wine vinegar then stir with the wire whisk. Quickly whisk in the vermouth, then the olive oil. Stir in kosher salt to taste – about two to four pinches. Set aside.
- Add the arugula, mint, and dill together in the third bowl and toss until mixed. Distribute the mix to serving dishes or bowls. Then place the marinated fennel on top. Dot the salads with blackberries and drizzle up to a 1/4 cup of dressing over the salad.
- Finish the salads by scattering a tablespoon of goat cheese crumbles and crushed walnuts over each one before serving.
“I Drink and I Know Things.”
As the little Lion Man of the Lannister family, Tyrion survives the world’s darkness through wanton hedonism. So with this recipe, I decided to take his quote “I am the god of tits and wine” literally by soaking some rich and fatty duck breasts in Bordeaux.
I used Costco’s Kirkland Signature variety and not only was it cheap, but it was also deliciously dark with a dry finish. I do find it interesting that in contrast to Cersei’s love of Arbor Gold, Tyrion Lannister prefers quaffing red vintages. A glass of red, a glass of gold, to wine lions give pause, it seems.
I then took Tyrion’s love for Tyroshi pear brandy referenced in the books and poached bosc pears in the marinade with a mix of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, lemon, and rosemary. These ingredients bear flavors from the wintery north, the opulent south, and the exotic lands beyond the narrow sea.
So there it is, the second of my six last #Thronesgiving recipes. If you are looking for more mouth-watering ways to bid farewell to Westeros, check out my Fandom Foodies Game of Thrones recipe link-up here.
A Coat of Red
Tyrion's Duck Tits & Wine-Poached Pears
Equipment: Stovetop, oven-safe skillet, oven, saucepan, large tea-ball or herb infuser, zester, wire whisk, vegetable peeler, and spoon.
- 4, 4-5 oz. duck breasts
- 2 bosc pears
- 2 1/4 cups Bordeaux wine
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 4 whole peppercorns
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated potato flakes
- At least an hour before cooking, lightly score the fat top of the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife. Place the duck in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and pour in the wine. Let marinate in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Before cooking, remove the duck from the marinade and dry with paper towels. Season both sides liberally with kosher salt, then let come to room-temperature while poaching the pears.
- Pour the wine into the saucepan and bring to a simmer, skim off and discard the scum. Place the spices and herbs into the tea-ball or herb saver and lower into the pot. Stir in the honey.
- Peel the skin from the pears while waiting for the wine to start simmering again. Lower the pears carefully into the liquid and simmer for 20-25 minutes, making sure to rotate them every 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Heat the ovenproof skillet on the stove top on medium. Place the duck breasts fat side down and let it render for about six minutes. Sear on the other side for a minute. Drain the fat into a clean, sealable jar for future use, then flip the duck fat-side down on the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven to cook another 5 – 7 minutes. Let the duck rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes, cover with foil to keep warm.
- Remove the pears from the liquid and transfer to the cutting board. Slice in half length-wise, then scoop the cores out with a spoon. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and reduce by half. Remove the herb saver, stir in the lemon juice and potato flakes.
- Slice the duck breasts along the bias into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Plate each breast with a pear half, then generously drizzle sauce over the top. Top with lemon zest and serve.