Cersei set a tasty table, that could not be denied. They started with a creamy chestnut soup, crusty hot bread, and greens dressed with apples and pine nuts. Then came lamprey pie, honeyed ham, buttered carrots, white beans and bacon, and roast swan stuffed with mushrooms and oysters. Tyrion was exceedingly courteous; he offered his sister the choice portions of every dish, and made certain he ate only what she did. Not that he truly throught she’d poison him, but it never hurt to be careful.
-A Clash of Kings (Game of Thrones), George R. R. Martin
For the first season I watched Game of Thrones obsessively. However, come season 2, and I let it go. Mostly to keep myself from getting insomnia. I was having such bad nightmares from the anxiety I had, I struggled to sleep. I figure there’s always the books to allow me to indulge in the food mentioned, while allowing my mind to tone down or all together skip the hard core parts.
Because Game of Thrones is set in another world, there’s no way of tying the series to a particular century. However some people recommend basing it on medieval times. 1894 was the oldest recipe I could find for chestnut soup, but the simplicity of this recipe makes it possible a similar recipe would have been followed in Cersei’s world.
There’s two ways with these chestnuts. The original recipe says to shell and blanch the chestnuts. But I love the roasted flavour and couldn’t bear to simply blanch them. Plus they’re easier to shell when they’re roasted.
Start by taking a small sharp knife and cutting a X into the bottom of each chestnut. Turn on the oven to 200oC and let heat up. Place them on a baking tray or a wire backing rack with small holes so it doesn’t fall through. Let them roast in the oven until they’ve clearly split open. Let cool before, shelling (this includes taking off the middle ‘lining’ not just the outer shell).
Place them in a medium to large pot with 4 cups boiling water.
Add in the chopped onion, celery, bay leaf parsley and paprika.
Cover and boil for 30 minutes.
Press through a strainer or cheesecloth, stir in 2 cups milk, and return to the stove.
Rub together the butter and flour before adding to the soup. Remember to actually rub it together and not just add it separately, otherwise it clumps.
Let heat up for one minute, sprinkle with some salt, and press it through a metal strainer with the back of a spoon or use a purée sieve if you happen to have one. Or purée in a blender, always easier, even if not correct.