”He found Dolorous Edd at the fire, complaining about how difficult it was for him to sleep when people insisted on blowing horns in the woods. Jon gave him something new to complain about. Together they woke Hake, who received the Lord Commander’s orders with a stream of curses, but got up all the same and soon had a dozen brothers cutting roots for a soup.”
This is a basic soup, meant for sustenance rather than to showcase one’s culinary prowess.
When constructing this recipe, I carefully took several things into consideration. First, that most of these roots would have to be foraged. The Brothers of the Night’s Watch are north of the Wall, which dramatically changes their supplies. They don’t have access to a pantry, and could only cook what they found or had brought with them.
I considered the roots to be foraged, a task I would have loved to experience firsthand, although I foraged mine from a variety of grocery stores instead of a forest. Salt pork is an easy enough thing to travel with, as is a bit of grain, such as barley. I happened to have cracked barley, and used that, figuring it would approximate the condition of barley after traveling in a saddlebag for a long while.
The fun of a recipe like this is that you get to construct it much the same way that the Brothers would. The ingredients list is flexible, so you needn’t stress about finding obscure roots in order to make a perfect copy of my version. Forage among your local markets, in your pantry, or if you’re lucky enough, your own backyard. Or your neighbor’s: I won’t judge.
My finished soup was certainly not a new favorite that I would serve to guests, or even necessarily make again (barring a zompocalypse). It was mild, but flavorful, and very filling, especially when paired with a hunk of bread and a bit of cheese. I liked the adventure of seeing what new combination of roots came up with each spoonful
But it’s all about the experience and mindset. Sipping the mild broth from the comfort of your couch is a vastly different experience than coming inside from the icy winter wind to a steaming bowl of broth and carbs. Make some arctic wind noices. Sit in front of your AC unit. Or wait until winter proper (it’s coming, you know…), and try the soup after shoveling the drive or helping with snow fort construction. I promise that it will dramatically change the way you experience this meal!
Root Soup Recipe
Prep: 20 minutes Cooking: 3 hours
Cook’s Notes: These are the ingredients I used, but feel free to alter the recipe according to your tastes and what is available to you. In total, you should have about 4-5 cups of chopped root vegetables.
- 1 parsnip
- 3 carrots
- sprig of thyme
- 1/2 gallon water (8 cups)
- 1 chopped burdock root (abt 2 cups)
- 1 cup chopped celeriac root
- 1″ diced horseradish root
- pearl onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 lb.Salt Pork, cut into small flakes
- 1/2 cup grains, such as barley or bulgur
- 1 bottle beer
Combine all ingredients in a pot. Simmer for 3 hours.
Leave chunky or blend. I left half chunky and blended the other half to make it creamy.
Consider serving with a bit of bread and cheese.