A tale from growing up {reminiscing about Hotroot Soup}

“Friar Hugo, old friend, brace yourself. I am the bearer of tragic news!"

Alarm spread across Hugo's pudgy features. "Tell me, Jess. What dreadful thing has happened?"

Jess spoke haltingly in a broken voice. "I fear that Cluny has tore up one of your oldest and most venerable dishrags. Alas, Redwall will never see it wipe another plate.”

― Brian Jacques, Redwall

Our motley crew, playing in the woods behind our house circa 1999/2000 (before the four youngest arrived on the scene).

When I was growing up all six of us children were huge (understatement) fans of Brian Jacques' Redwall books. Not only did we read and re-read them while eagerly waiting for the next book to be released, but we played Redwall as well. Yup, that's right. We each would pick a character to be and take off into the woods behind our house to build tree houses and forts. Of course we had an Abbey, that had not only  stone walls and ramparts to defend but also a "dining hall" with long wooden tables to eat at. Without fail almost every time we were playing someone would head off to the house to throw together a pot of Hotroot Soup (back in those days our soup was a very basic version of it) and then carefully carry it outside for us to sip in our "great hall" in the heart of the Abbey.

In case you've never had to pleasure of reading the Redwall books I'll fill you in. Hotroot Soup is a favorite meal among the otters of Redwall and is made of root vegetables and a certain "hotroot" pepper.
Even those among us (who shall remain un-named!) that usually had a rather strong dislike for strong/spicy foods gobbled it down with relish. To this day I'm still not sure if it was the game of pretend, the fresh air, or the soup was just that good, but whatever it was we all loved eating it.

Anyway, Adam had never experienced the wonders of this delicious meal and after deciding it was high time he did* I made a pot of Hotroot Soup the other day. Now I'm writing the recipe down in case this is making you start to crave a bowl of steamy, spicy, potato-y goodness.

*he loved it, by the way.

Redwall Hotroot Soup.

(the actual measurements are not very important as this is a very forgiving soup, just make sure there is enough broth to cover the veggies)

You will need:

A little bit of garlic (about one clove)
Chicken broth
Bacon (the otters of Redwall usually use shrimp in their soup, and if you want it to really be fantastic please do add it. I didn't because 1. Adam's not really a fan of shrimp 2. I didn't have any on hand)
A couple springs of fresh rosemary
Pinch of salt
Black pepper, red pepper, and (if possible) white pepper.

To make:

Chop the veggies and cover with broth, toss in the rosemary and cook until veggies are tender.
Fry the bacon and add to the pot.

Start seasoning away with the salt and peppers, adjusting the taste until it's nice and peppery.

Serve steaming hot with crusty bread (you can also toss some grated cheese and crushed crackers on top as well).

*top illustration is by Christopher Denise, from the Redwall Cookbook


  1. My son is a huge Redwall Fan as well. We have read all the books and were so sad to hear a few years back that Brian Jacques had died. We have made a few of the recipes, I have one for 'Strawbee Scones' that is really good. Great memories!

    1. Raquel, we were so sad to hear the news of his passing also.
      The scones sound good! We used to have afternoon tea every day, with scones, jam and clotted cream :)

  2. Replies
    1. Brenda, so do we! It's such fun, isn't' it?

  3. I adore literary feasting, Rosie!!!! We make something we call "Narnia" meal, which is just roasted veggies with sausage and fresh bread or fresh rosemary bread. I was so inspired after I had checkout the Narnia cookbook from the library. I should read Redwallw with my children soon! So many good books, SO little time. ;) Thank you for sharing your recipe! :) Amy

    1. Oh, that does sound good! I love The Chronicles of Narnia. The Redwall books are so good, you really do need to read them too. Although although I totally hear you on the too many books/not enough time thing. lol

  4. oh damn, that sounds good!

    1. Julie, it's so good--I'll have to make it for you guys when we come up!
      Only a few more weeks! (we'll be there for Thanksgiving!).
      How's everything? I keep meaning to write you, and then life happens and I don't get around to it :(
      Love you! oxoxoxoxxo


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