“The best [pork] pie you have ever tasted”

Well, I did it.  I made my own version of the famous (or possibly infamous) Manderly pie from A Dance With Dragons.  The recipe from Inn at the Crossroads sounded absolutely delicious,  and I couldn’t wait to try making it.

I succeeded, but at what a price.

After asking Chelsea some questions, I decided that when I did finally make my own version of the pie, I would try making the gravy a bit heavier.   The description of the pie in the book talks about a lot of gravy in this pie (meat and stuff is “swimming in gravy” it says), and so I thought making a thicker, more substantial gravy would be better.  I also deviated from Chelsea’s recipe in a few other ways:

1) The book describes the pies as being huge, so I thought making it larger might be cool.  I have a deep-dish pizza pan that seemed ideal for the purpose.  It is certainly more wheel-like, anyway.

2) I realized when I started making it tonight that I drank my last brown beer yesterday (the Samuel Smith brown ales are just so good) and I needed it for the gravy.  Ooops.  So I thought about what I could use as a substitute.  As much as I love me some Narragansett lager, it’s the beer of the clam, not the beer of the merman.  Then I thought, hey, I have some apple ciders (type 802 from these guys seemed a good fit) , maybe I should try that.  Apples and pork go together well, right?  So that is what I used instead.

3) I thought a good savory meat gravy needs some herbs, so I added some thyme and a lot of savory.  And a little garlic too, because garlic.

4) I am a fan of House Manderly (as I mentioned before) so I wanted to mark the pie in an appropriate way.  Thus…

I tried to make it look like the badge Ser Wendel wore in Season 3.
I tried to make it look like the badge Ser Wendel wore in Season 3.

Wow, was that crust a pain to make.  Now, I will go ahead and say that I don’t know a whole lot about baking.  Honestly, I really don’t.  I love to cook, but baking is just something I have limited experience with.  Lots of bread and pumpkin pies and that is about it.  And so I was terrified I would screw this up and ruin a LOT of food in the process.  Luckily, it came out quite edible, probably because I erred on the side of caution as much as possible.   And man oh man, did that crust give me trouble.  Making pumpkin pie is one thing.  Making a two-crust meat pie the size of a bicycle wheel is another.

I am embarrassed at how big a mess I made in the kitchen to bring this pie into being.  Yikes.
I am embarrassed at how big a mess I made in the kitchen to bring this pie into being. Yikes.

Just like Lord Manderly himself, I had three pieces for dinner.  Mmmmm.  Probably going to slip into a food coma soon.  But I will finish the post.

I need a better shot of the gravy.  But this will have to do for now.

Not sure how well you can see, but it's thick, brown, and savory.  And there is a lot of it.
Not sure how well you can see, but it’s thick, brown, and savory. And there is a lot of it.

Anyway, I may just have found a new favorite Westerosi dish.  I can hardly wait for my friends to try it.  But the kitchen needs to be cleaned and rebuilt before I try it again.

-Geoff

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