Behind the Scenes 5 - YA Fantasy Showdown (Feature Fun Friday Edition)

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Iris by Goo Goo Dolls.

I can't believe I'm doing this. I really can't believe I'm doing this. I'm pressed for time and I need a Hunger Games-based video (I mean really, I can't NOT put one up when Mockinjay releases in FOUR DAYS). The trailers don't thrill me, and I did interviews with Suzanne Collins last year...

*shakes fists at the internet gods*

So.. you get to see a video of... me. Really. For those of you who don't know, I invent recipes. Call it a hobby of mine or some weird affliction. I took two years of pre-professional cooking classes, and I have been creating recipes since I was six (no joke. Ask my mom). So I like to invent recipes in honor of books. And the first book everyone decided on when I opened this up to the great voice of the internet? You got it. The Hunger Games.

And it was also DEMANDED I dress up in my Halloween costume as Katniss *facepalm* So for your viewing pleasure/pure laughter is my first vlog ever, detailing how to make Katniss' favorite meal from the Capitol - the Lamb and Plum stew. (I'll also include the recipe below, in case anyone wants to make this for a HG party).


This is why I don't write blog posts at 11:30 at night. I get into trouble. Enjoy, everyone! My humiliation isn't all that bad. Really...

And the recipe!

Lamb and Plum Stew

1/2 large onion, cut
1 Tb olive oil
1 lb lamb, cubed (stew meat or neck meat) -
it all depends if you want to cut around bones or not. Neck meat is cheaper, but more time consuming.
2 tsp red wine vinegar

2 C water
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
10-13 dried pitted plums (prunes)
3-4 large carrots, sliced
1/4 (more) onion, cut
*3-4 potatoes, cubed (with or without skin)
*1 stalk celery - optional
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut
salt - to taste
pepper - to taste
rosemary - 1 Tb
*(cinnamon) - optional, to taste
(I'd recommend 1/4 tsp if you want to try it)

Plum Gravy:

Juices from the stew
Additional water (as needed)
Flour (1/4 C to start is usually a good place)
Salt and pepper - to taste
1/4-1/2 C prune juice (start with 1/4 C. Be careful not to make it too sweet. Lots of tasting is involved in this step).

Pour the olive oil and cut onions into a saucepan. Turn on the heat to med-low and stir around until they are soft and translucent (caramelizing). Turn the heat to med-high. Add the meat and red wine vinegar. Brown the sides of the meat quickly. Do not allow it to cook all the way through. This is called searing the meat. It will help seal in the juices. Put into a crock pot.

Add the water (to help keep it moist and makes for more juices for the gravy), brown sugar, dried plums, rosemary, salt and pepper. Keep it on low for 4-5 hours. Have fun waiting. Learn to knit or something. :)

Three hours before you are ready to eat, add the carrots, potatoes, the remainder of the 1/4 of an onion, red bell peppers, and celery (optional). Also add the cinnamon if you are going to at this time (optional).

When you are ready to eat, it is time to make the gravy. In a small pot, start heating the prune juice. This is to boil of some of the water and to condense the flavor. In another pot, suck up all of the juices from the stew (yummy). Add flour in small amounts, by the teaspoon, and whisk like crazy. Try to make it smooth and keep it from clumping. Depending on how much stew juices you have, you may have to add water to help supplement it, or to thin it out if the gravy has become too thick. Add salt and pepper. Add the now-boiling prune juice. Taste and tweak until it is the desirable mixture of sweet and savory. Pour back in with the meat. Stir and serve. You can also pour it over a bed of "wild rice" if you so desire (that part is in the book if you want to be really authentic).**

Congratulations! You just made The Hunger Games Lamb and Plum Stew!

You will notice a common phrase ringing throughout this. To taste. That is because this really is a personal exploration. You get to decide what you will like best. From the infamous words of Barbossa the pirate. "These are more guidelines, that actual rules." :)

Hoped you liked it!

*not in the original video. You need the potatoes though.

**rice needs to be cooked 20 minutes before you are ready to eat if you are taking this option.


Mrs. DeRaps said...

Awesome! What a great idea. I posted a link to your post in my Mockingjay Madness entry, where I'm collecting links to all things HG and Mockingjay. Thanks for sharing!

Here's a link to my post:

Okie said...

Nicely done. I'm not really a "soup" lover, but a good lamb stew might hit the spot. Thanks for sharing. Very good.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm a not so much for the lamb, but I adored the star shaped carrots!!!!!!!!

Em said...

This dish reminds me of this amazing stew my mom used to make with beef, apricots and prunes which we ate over egg noodles. It was so good! Who knew warm dried fruit could be so good? I'm vegan now so can't eat it anymore, but I have fond memories of it. (and agreed, the carrot stars are awesome as is the fact that you made Katniss' soup!)

christina said...

I absolutely LOVED your blog. How clever. (And watching the paint dry...hee hee!)

Hope you keep these up.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of lamb or plums, but I am so enamored of Book Food I just might give this a try. And I adore that you cut the carrots into stars. Lovely, and very Capitol!

Claire said...

I love this! But, I'm vegetarien... I know I seem cheeky asking.. but is there anychance of a veggie version? I'd love to have this as a meal on the day Mockingjay comes out!
And yep, the stars are very Capitol!

Heather Zundel said...

Oh WOW. Thanks guys! (And I get so embarassed on screen too).

So many vegetarians... Let's see what I can do. Impossible today (cause of the final battle going down), but I will think REALLY hard and see if I can give you guys an alternate version before Mockingjay comes out.

Here, however, is a vegan recipe for Ambrosia from the Percy Jackson books. I hope that can hold you over!

Unknown said...

Um... this is an awesome idea. I'm pretty sure I'll never actually make this recipe, but I LOVE the idea of making a HG inspired meal to celebrate on Tuesday. Thanks for sharing!!

Claire said...

Thanks for the link, and thank you for considering it.. don't worry if you can't though! I know you must be so busy! I can't believe how close the Katsa vs Howl battle was?!?!?! I think Katsa would have won though :)

Heather Dixon said...

Hahaha! Awesome. That looks serious tasty.

I laughed out loud at the carrots math & angles comment. Ha!

Meghan said...

That was awesome!! I can't wait to try to make that stew myself. I love the idea of cookin/eating a meal in honor of a book. You should post more of these :) So much fun!