By Tara C.
We are a Harry Potter-loving household. My eight-year-old son is currently working his way through the books and movies. I would have liked to have attended Hogwarts myself, but, according to my t-shirt from last Halloween, I am a Muggle. And also a big nerd.
When I spotted The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory (F+W Media, December 2011) by Dinah Bucholz at our library, I eagerly snatched it up.
(image from: www.dinahbucholz.com)
My son had a Harry Potter-themed dinner for his seventh birthday, and I would have loved to have had this cookbook then. Some of the dishes I invented were a bit...questionable. But this cookbook is extremely comprehensive. With more than 150 recipes, it includes foods explicitly mentioned in the Harry Potter books as well as some that were just merely suggested.
Most of the recipes are quintessentially English, and, in addition to recipes and cooking tips, the author includes historical tidbits about the recipes. I love this kind of thing. To her credit, the author does not shy away from the, um, more authentic recipes, such as haggis, which calls for 1 sheep's heart, 1 sheep's lung, and 1 sheep's liver. But just one! Because two sheep lungs would be gross. The author notes that this recipe is untested.
Aside from haggis, which is entertaining if not appetizing, most of the cookbook features delicious-sounding dishes that you could easily whip up in your own kitchen. I would love to try the recipes for Chocolate Custard Trifle with Toffee Crunch or the Poached Salmon in Honey and Dill Sauce.
I let my son choose any recipe in the book for us to make together. He selected Herby Roast Chicken with Onion-Garlic Mashed Potatoes, based on a meal Mrs. Weasley made in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Don't you remember?) Interesting choice, but that's what we made. I also made English Tomato Ketchup from a recipe in this cookbook. The chicken was fantastic--moist and well-seasoned. The potatoes were good too, although my son didn't care for them because he doesn't like onions. Why he chose something with onion in the name, I have no idea. But, we all agreed the chicken is lovely! I'm including it here so you can make it and impress you friends and family. And you don't have to tell them it's a Magical Recipe.
Recipe from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
1 medium onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 3-pound chicken
2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine
¼ teaspoon ground thyme
¼ teaspoon gound sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup water
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and lay the onion slices and garlic cloves in a baking dish. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.
2. Mix the butter or margarine with the thyme, sage and parsley and spread it under the skin of the breasts and thighs; you will need to loosen the skin first by lifting up the flap of skin and sliding your fingers under it. Lay the chicken in the pan, breast-side up, on top of the onions and garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the pan.
3. Bake for 50 minutes. Rotate the pan, raise the temperature to 450°F, and bake for another 30 minutes or until an instead-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 170°F.
Good news today! If you'd like to win your very own copy of The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, we have one copy to giveaway.
The fine print-type stuff:
- For a chance to win, simply comment with the answer to this question: What was your favorite Harry Potter book?
- Giveaway ends: Thursday, September 6 at 11:59 p.m.
- Who can enter: Anyone in the U.S.!
- Other details: one comment per person, please; we'll select the winner through random.org and announce by September 7