Only one more day until the series premiere of the FINAL season of Game of Thrones – and what better way to celebrate the end of an era than with some of the most authentic food from Game of Thrones yet: kidney pie.
If you aren’t caught up on the MOST RECENT SEASON of Game of Thrones – BE WARNED! There’s gonna be BIG OL’ SPOILERS IN THIS POST! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
In season six of Game of Thrones, Jon and Sansa finally reunite at Winterfell after being separated and both being put through their own trials and tribulations over the course of 5 seasons. While they reconnect, they briefly reminsence on Old Nan’s kidney pies; “The one with the peas and the onions,” Jon remarks.
Old Nan was a slightly scary woman who took care of the Stark childern; specifically we see her tending to Bran after he was pushed from the window my Jaime Lannister. While Bran rests, she regales some terrifying tales of the White Walkers beyond the Wall – an account that I think was much more than a story told to scare little boys.
And it’s specifically because of Old Nan that I will be SEVERELY disappointed if giant pale spiders don’t make an appearance some time during the final battle for the land of the living.
Game of Thrones is infamous for repeating it’s own history, so Old Nan’s story theory may actually hold some weight. I’ve been watching NOTHING but Game of Thrones conspiracy theory videos, but this isn’t even the wildest theory out there:
Because Game of Thrones is notorious for telling us exactly what will happen without giving away they are telling us what is going to happen; I think that Old Nan knew about the Night King and knew all the old stories were in fact, true.
If I were Old Nan and knew there was nothing I could do to stop the long night from coming, I would probably just distract myself by learning how to cook (what else could a woman do back in those days?).
Old Nan’s kidney pie is stuffed with peas and onions in addition to steak and lamb kidney. Tucked into a homemade hot water crust, Old Nan’s pie was likely the envy of the other cooks in Winterfell.
Another character we know fancies kidney pie is the king of pies himself: Hot Pie!
He regales the importance of lard in the crust and the need for a perfect gravy for every kidney pie when Brienne and Podrick stop at the Inn at the Crossroads for a quick bite to eat.
Regardless of who is sitting on the Iron Throne at the end of the series, if one thing is for certain – as long as the Night King doesn’t win, that is – kidney pies like this one will still be prevailent across Westeros once the dust settles from all the battling, of course.
PRO TIP: These kidney pies are an authentic take on real Medieval recipes – you may need to go to a butcher shop to specifically find kidney meat. I used lamb kidney in my recipe but beef kidney will work too. During my personal quest to find kidney it seemed that liver was a much more readily available meat in my region; while it may have a slightly different taste, liver can be substituted in this recipe for the kidney. And if you aren’t partial to organ meats in general, you can leave the kidney out and double up the steak or add a different meat like chicken.
Old Nan’s Kidney Pie | Game of Thrones Inspired Recipes
FOR THE CRUST:
FOR KIDNEY PIE FILLING:
- Begin by preparing the crust. First combine the lard, water and salt in a small pot over high heat. Stir until the lard has completely melted and the water comes to a light simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the flour into a mound on a large flat work surface. Use the bottom of a bowl or measuring cup to create a small well in the center – it should be deep enough to contain the water. Pour the water into the well and use a wooden spoon to stir the water into the flour until a sticky dough begins to form. Then use your hands to fold more flour into the dough until it begins to take on a ball shape.
- Knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, to create a soft dough. When the dough no longer sticks to your hands, transfer it to a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Chill the dough for 3-4 hours.
- Pat the meats dry with a paper towel. Mince the meat into small chunks less than an inch big. Combine the meats in a small bowl with a half cup of flour. Let the flour absorb the moisture from the raw meat.
- In a large skillet over high heat, add the strips of bacon and fry until crisp – about 4-5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet but leave the grease.
- Saute the onions in the bacon grease until they are beginning to turn transluscent, about 5 minutes. Then stir in the carrots. When the onions are beginning to brown, add the peppers, garlic and peas to the skillet. Cook until the peas have brightened in cool, about 2-3 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until fragrant.
- Deglaze the skillet with a splash of sherry. Simmer off the liquid then add the meat to the skillet and stir it into the vegetables. Cook the meat for a few minutes to brown. Then pour the beer into the skillet. Return the heat to high and bring to a rapid boil. Simmer off the excess liquid, stirring occasionally – about 30-40 minutes.
- Remove the filling from the skillet and place into a large bowl. Crumble the bacon and stir into the filling. Cool until the mixture is no longer steaming – at least one hour or until the filling is room temperature. If the meat mix is too warm, the dough will not stay together.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauce pot over medium high heat, melt the lard for the gravy. Whisk in the flour and beef broth until a smooth roux-like sauce forms. Season with oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Bring the gravy to a bubble then cover and reduce the heat to medium low to low. Cook the gravy, stirring occasionally until the pies have finished baking or at least 1-2 hours.
- Bring the dough to room temperature. Separate the dough into 4-6 evenly sized balls about the size of a baseball. Then tear off about a tablespoon of dough from each ball. These smaller balls will be the tops to the pies. Use a rolling pin to roll the smaller balls flat – they should be about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick and about 2-3 inches round disks.
- Working one dough ball at a time, use the bottom of a drinking glass or smooth bottomed measuring cup to press into the center of the dough balls. Gently pull the edges of the ball up around the bottom of the glass so that they cover the bottom 2-3 inches of the glass. Basically use the glass to make 'cups' out of the dough. The dough should stand on its own for the most part when the glass has been removed from the center of the dough and be about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.
- Press the filling into the center of each dough 'cup' – pack it in tightly. Then take the small top disks and place on top of the filling. pinch and tuck the edges together. Use a sharp knife to pierce the tops of each pie so that the pie can vent as it cooks. Chill each pie as you complete them or for about 30 minutes to set the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Brush the pies with egg wash on the tops and sides. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pies are golden brown. Remove the pies from the oven and let rest at least 10 minutes prior to cutting for best results. Slather each pie with a generous helping of gravy. Enjoy with a flaggon of ale and feed any leftovers to your direwolf.