Watching the long-awaited premiere of season three of Game of Thrones deserves a feast as much as any event in the show, and if I’ve learned anything from going to Medieval Times for my birthday throughout my entire adolescence (and I definitely have), it’s that nothing gets you into the swords-and-castles spirit like eating semi-appropriate food with your hands. To support you in the implementation of this wisdom, we’ve put together an amazing yet doable Game of Thrones party menu. That Mad Men cocktail thing that you went to a hundred years ago is going to look straight up childish after this (really, no one wants to eat sixties food). Make this feast, and it’s Game (!!) over.
This menu is designed to be prepared ahead of time so you can throw everything on the table like a Khal with his spoils and not miss a second of the show.
All of these foods pair basically well with our GoT Signature Bevs, which I’m sure you’re making as well. Don’t provide cutlery unless you want to ruin everything, although napkins are recommended.
Most important: Handheld Meat Items
Good candidates for feasting include chicken (whole or pieces, no boneless skinless nonsense), any kind of ribs, and leg of lamb. They present well, are easy to start long before your guests arrive, and are guaranteed to drip delicious meaty juices for the duration of the episode. I like to roast a whole chicken and then break it down just before serving because it’s easy and looks more impressive than it is – just shove some rosemary, half a lemon, and a few garlic cloves into a bird, slap some olive oil and salt and pepper on the skin, and roast at 350 for an hour ish. For the true George R.R. Martin version, put a bunch of butter under the skin before roasting. You’ll thank me if you do. A leg of lamb will look impressive but will need to be portioned ahead of time and isn’t as hand-friendly, unless one of your guests is a Clegane brother of course. Keep your seasonings simple unless you’re going for a Qarth theme, in which case your bird should be a peacock stuffed with live doves and I can’t really help you. If you’re unsure about roasting a chicken, you really should try it because it’s an important life skill and I promise you’ll do great, but if now’s not the time, just pick up some rotisserie birds from wherever you last saw them sitting pre-packaged in a heating tray. I want to keep being snobby and tell you it’s a bad choice, but honestly, I know full well those things are delicious.
Vegetarians: I Care About You
In the same way you can watch Game of Thrones without being pro-incest and violence, so too can you enjoy a Game of Thrones feast without being a barbarian. Stuffing a bell pepper with garlicky breadcrumbs, greens, farro, and/or ricotta or goat cheese is highly tasty and fun to eat with your hands, provided you get into the spirit and bite into it with gusto. This also works well with large mushroom caps, but they look less like horse hearts, and it’d be badass if the vegetarians were all throwing down Daenerys-style. I’d be lying if I said I knew anything about tempeh and all that, and it’s not really evocative of the middle ages, but it’s your party so tell the haters that unless their chicken is a heritage breed, they’re doing it wrong too.
Bread: To Soak Up The Alcohol
Buy the nicest, crustiest, freshest bread you can find. Tear off hearty handfuls whenever the mood strikes. Throw pieces at people who are talking over the dialogue. Try to remember there are delicious breads out there that are not baguettes.
Side Dishes: What, Meat And Bread Aren’t Enough?
Roasted new potatoes. Rustic cheeses like bleus, farmhouse cheddars, and firm sheep’s cheeses or anything goaty because goats are way medieval. Grapes, tangerines, apples, plums, figs, any handheld fruit. Shelled nuts and cured meats like prosciutto. If you put waterlogged peeled baby carrots on this table, you are fired.
Desserts: As Many As Possible
Tarts, tortes, crostatas, anything with a free form pastry dough and simple filling is plausible and easier than it sounds. Butter cake makes more sense than anything chocolate but rules are for suckers. Don’t make cookies, this isn’t a PTA meeting. Wait, are the cookies dragon-shaped? Let me kiss your face.
If the confines of preparing period-appropriate dishes chafe, consult this video in which Mr. Dinklage reminds us that fantasy worlds are not bound by the conventions of history and by extension are open to culinary narrative flexibility (I went to college).
Clear eyes, full plates, can’t lose: