This is a great use of leftovers, both chicken and spent grain. Although the broth is not especially thick, it is savory and satisfying. Chunks of root vegetables add splashes of color and substance. I didn’t have much meat left to go into my batch: just one large drumstick. But shredded up and torn into fairly small pieces, hardly a bite went by without a bit of meat in it. While I imagine that in the kitchens of Castle Black the cooks would probably have to rely on the dried variety, I took a small liberty for the sake of aesthetics, wanting that little pop of fresh green in the mix. A dash of smoked salt helps bring the dish together, and transport you just a little closer to Westeros.
It definitely strikes me as a Northern dish. The frugality of boiling down the chicken for stock, plus incorporating the spent grains leads me to think it belongs at Castle Black, The Wall.
Chicken and Spent Barley Stew
- 1 chicken carcass, water to cover (or 6 cups chicken broth)
- 3 Tbs. butter, divided
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 large carrot & 1 small turnips, or other vegetables
- 1 cup fresh peas
- 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
- 2 Tbs. flour
- 3-4 cups spent grains, drained
- smoked salt
Pick over the chicken carcass, saving any meat you can and laying it aside. Cover the carcass with water, and boil for an hour. Strain into a clean pot, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, skim off any fat that has collected at the top of the broth. Return the broth to the stove.
In a separate skillet, melt 1 1/2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the minced garlic and onions, and sautee for a few minutes until soft. Add the chopped root vegetables and peas, stirring once to coat them in butter. Add a splash of broth, then cover and let simmer for around 5 minutes. Pour this mixture into the broth pot.
Return the skillet to the burner, and melt the other 1 1/2 Tbs. butter. Add the mushrooms and stir for about 30 seconds to coat them with butter and allow them to soften. Lightly dust the buttery mushrooms with flour, stirring quickly to coat. Add 1 cup of the broth to make a roux, stirring steadily. The mixture should thicken up nicely; add more broth if it seems too thick, then pour the roux into the broth pot.
To the broth, add any leftover shredded chicken, and the spent grains. Let cook for another 10 minutes to thicken.
Season with a pinch of smoked salt and thyme, and serve alongside some rustic bread.