“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.”

Root Soup

Thoughts:

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

Serves: 5-6

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.

 

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9 Responses to Root Soup

  1. Christian says:

    “My finished soup was certainly not a new favorite that I would serve to guests, or even necessarily make again”

    That’s a great endorsement! I make that assessment two or three times a week with my own cooking. BUT, the other nights make up for it.

    • Needs Mead says:

      Hey, it’s an honest one. :)

      It’s definitely a soup-of-need rather than a soup-of-want. Cersei would have someone hanged if she were served this, but north of the Wall, it’s just the thing to keep the rangers going!

  2. Louise says:

    Did you change the configurations for your rss feed? Now all the posts are truncated and the photos don’t appear anymore :(

  3. Susan says:

    Having just finished ‘Storm of Swords’ and seeing that it’s comin’ on Halloween and there’s a chill in the air, this soup seems quite fitting … a couple soup bones in the broth will make for a richer broth – just sayin’

  4. I am cooking it right now, it smells very interesting. I don’t know what beer did you use so I picked light lager 12%, quality brand from Slovakia. I started cooking the meat first. so it will be ready (I had only smoked pork knee) and I decided to put vegetables in on hour later, so it wouldn’t be over-boiled. Thanks for this recipe, this is EXACTLY the kind of soup me and my friends prefer. I am looking forward to taste it :)

  5. Sean says:

    Made this last night to test it out for a party I’m having for the premier of season 3. I thought it was excellent, and will definitely be making it again! It had surprisingly a lot of flavor

  6. Jennifer Bergstrom-Zum Berge says:

    In keeping with the foraging idea, throwing in nettles for the last 15 min is an option. It needs my favorite root vegetable, rutabaga.

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