A Feast of Ice and Fire: Traditional Bean-and-Bacon Soup & Salad at Castle Black

A review of “Traditional Bean-and-Bacon Soup” and “Salad at Castle Black” from the A Feast of Ice and Fire Cookbook.

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These two recipes are from “The Wall” section of the “A Feast of Ice and Fire” cookbook.


Traditional Bean-and-Bacon Soup

“[Sam] had not eaten since that bowl of bean-and-bacon soup with Pyp and Grenn.” – A Feast for Crows

Once again, I was unable to find fava beans.  Is there some sort of shortage going on in LA?  This time I was actually able to find dry fava beans, but no canned fava beans, which is what the recipe called for.  20180526_180854

If had more time I would have ordered canned fava beans, but I didn’t.  So instead I used canned chickpeas, since the trusty internet suggested that they were a suitable substitution.  Plus there are also chickpeas in the salad so they’ll go well together!

Right off the bat I liked that the recipe was very specific in how to clean leeks.  I have always struggled with this.  There always seems to be a mountain of dirt hidden between each of those layers!

Once the leeks, celery, onions, and carrot were all cleaned and chopped, they were tossed into a pot with the chickpeas, cloves, and beef broth.  Then the whole pot was topped off with water until the veggies and beans were covered.20180526_192717

It all simmered on the stove for about an hour, and then the cloves and some of the broth were removed before mashing the beans.

The recipe specifically says to use a potato masher, and not to puree with a more modern device, to keep “the rugged authenticity.”  The beans do appear to be rather chunky after being mashed, and the broth isn’t as thick as it would be if I were to puree it.

Finally, the bacon was added and the soup was served!


Taste: 10/10

We thought this was just as good as the modern version!  I think the modern version was actually more filling with the pasta and feta, and this one seemed more healthy with the extra vegetables.  The bacon was an amazing addition to both!

Difficulty: Easy20180526_182852

Lots of chopping and mashing are involved in this recipe, but overall the steps were simple and it would be hard to screw this one up.

Cost: Average

You will need to purchase canned fava beans, bacon, onions, leeks, and beef broth.  You may also need to pick up carrot, celery, and whole cloves.


Salad at Castle Black

“‘From the Lord Commander’s own table,’ Bowen Marsh told them.  There were salad of spinach and chickpeas and turnip greens, and afterward bowls of iced blueberries and sweet cream.”

20180526_184808Okay, AGAIN there was an ingredient I couldn’t find in this one: turnip greens.  I cheated and used dandelion greens instead.  I don’t even know if they’re similar.  Dandelion greens just happened to be available at the third grocery store I checked, and I was running out of time!

This is a salad, so really it’s just a matter of combining all of the ingredients.

20180526_190933One of the ingredients is “roasted chickpeas,” though, so you will need to make those ahead of time.  Luckily for you, I just posted a recipe for roasted chickpeas a couple of weeks ago!  Just don’t add any extra spices or grated cheese if you’re making them for this recipe.

They didn’t specify what types of oil and vinegar to use, or amounts.  I would have preferred for them to include at least the type of vinegar, since that can make a big difference in flavor.

We used olive oil and apple cider vinegar in ours.  Normally I would have included balsamic vinegar instead with a salad, but we were out and I wasn’t going to buy a bottle just for this.

20180526_191725Taste: 7/10

Surprisingly, I actually quite liked the sweetness of the raisins in this salad, and of course the roasted chickpeas were good.  But it was a pretty typical, boring salad over all and I wouldn’t make it again.

Difficulty: Average

At first glance this salad looks really easy.  Because, well, it’s a salad and all you should have to do is combine everything.

BUT they are sneaky about the fact that you’ll need to roast some chickpeas beforehand.  And if you haven’t made many salads before, you may not be confident with how much oil and vinegar to add, or what types to use.

Cost: Average20180526_191734

You will need to purchase baby spinach, turnip greens, and chickpeas.  You may need to pick up raisins as well.


You can easily add additional ingredients to this one, or eliminate ingredients you don’t like.  I think a little bit of grated cheese would be a great addition!

You can also swap the oil and vinegar for a dressing of your choice.

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