By: Chef Cristian Feher
Last week my wife came home and told me about The Hunger Games. “You’re hungry?” I asked.
“No, The Hunger Games. It’s only the most popular movie and book out there right now!” She responded.
Since that day I have not been able to stop reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It’s by far, one of the best stories I’ve ever read. Although the main character is a girl, I have been living vicariously through her perilous life for the past few nights. The story sizzles with suspense, action, and most importantly, food. Suzanne Collins’ description of the lavish cuisine of the Capitol (a decadent society in the not-so-distant future) against the rudimentary backdrop of District 12’s survival game meats, sets my imagination on fire, and makes my stomach yearn for both - fresh caught rabbit - and cream soup with rose petals.
Below are a few recipes that I’ve adapted from the book. Enjoy!
Capitol City Lamb and Plum Stew
- 2 Lbs of boneless leg of lamb cubes
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup of fresh chopped parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups of strong beef stock
- 1 cup of Shiraz wine
- 2 cups of ripe chopped plums
- 1/2 cup of prune juice
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a heavy cast iron dutch oven or ceramic pot on the stove top, begin to cook the onion and lamb with a little olive oil for 10-15 minutes or until the onion begins to become soft and translucent. Then add the garlic, parsley, bay leaves, and plums and cook for another 10 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375.
2. Add the beef stock, shiraz, and prune juice and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and stick it in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes.
3. Mix a roux by combining equal parts flour and oil in a small bowl to the consistency of toothpaste. This will be the thickener for the stew.
4. Remove the pot from the oven and put back on the stove top. Bring to a low simmer. Whisk in a little bit of roux at a time until desired thickness is reached. Cook this out for another 10 minutes and adjust seasoning.
5. Enjoy as if it were your last meal!
NOTE: If lamb is not yet tender, put back in oven at 350 and check every 30 minutes until lamb is tender.
Capitol City Chicken in Orange Cream Sauce
In this recipe, I believe Katnis refers to the color of the sauce instead of the actual ingredient. And I believe it to be a saffron cream sauce that she is eating. This rich dish would pair nicely over garlic mash. I would use a pressure cooker for this recipe, but may use a regular dutch oven and cook it covered a simmer for 1 hour.
- 1 whole chicken cut up into eighths
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 pinch of Spanish saffron
- 1/4 tsp of ground cumin
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- salt and pepper
1. WIth the pressure cooker uncovered, cook the onion with a little olive oil for 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, saffron, and the chicken. Cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken stock. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 23 minutes. (quick release)
3. Mix a roux by combining equal parts flour and oil in a small bowl to the consistency of toothpaste. This will be the thickener for the sauce as in the recipe above.
4. Remove the lid of the pressure cooker and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add the cream. Bring to a simmer and whisk in a little bit of roux at a time until desired thickness is reached. Then simmer for another 10 minutes to set the flour.
5. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and enjoy, while figuring out how you will kill your opponent across the table.
Capitol City Noodles with Green Sauce
This dish is most likely pasta with a basil pesto or possibly a spinach pesto. Although they probably use some genetically-altered District 11 super-nut for the sauce, here is my rendition using cashews.
- 2 Cups of fresh Basil leaves and/or baby spinach (pack them in there!)
- 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 Cup of Roasted Salted Cashew Nuts
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cooked pasta noodles
1. It's easiest to use a food processor to make this. Add all the dry ingredients into the food processor and turn it on. As soon as you turn it on, start adding the olive oil. Process the mixture until it's all an even, moist green paste.
2. Store in a jar, or use right away.
3. NOTE: You can store pesto in the fridge for several weeks by making sure that there is a layer or olive oil covering the top of the pesto (at least 3mm thick). Note that the pesto may solidify in the fridge. It is normal for some olive oils to solidify under cold temperatures. You can still use it with no problems!
District 12’s Famous Roasted Wild Rabbit
This recipe works great with most creatures of the forest - squirrel, rabbits, and game birds.
- 1 unlucky rabbit (arrow removed)
- Wild onions
- Wild garlic
There are really only two ways to prepare this meal in District 12:
1a) Cover the wild rabbit (cleaned and cut up) with wild garlic and wild onion pieces in a container. Let it sit for an hour to absorb some of the taste. If you can find some salt to trade for at the Hob, you can rub some salt on the meat. If the container is made of metal, cook it over a fire along with the vegetables. The rabbit should release just enough fat and juices to simmer the veggies below it and make a rudimentary dry stew. Note that the rabbit’s belly skin can be rubbed onto the hot metal to render some oil from the fat for cooking.
1b) If your container is not made of a heat-resistant material, skewer the rabbit and roast over a fire. The meat should have absorbed some of the wild garlic and onion taste.
2) Don’t get caught in the forest.
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