The final season of Game of Thrones approaches us like the winds of winter, and you know what that means. It means it’s time for us to throw a final #Thronesgiving feast celebrating dining, dragons, and Peter Dinklage. Last week we had dragons for dessert with an ice cream cake inspired by Viserion and the Night King. This week we head south from the Wall to Winterfell with a pumpkin and shellfish chowder inspired by the Stark sisters, Arya and Sansa Stark!
Click here to skip to the recipe for Stark Sisters’ Stew.
The Pack Survives
Honestly one of my favorite parts from last season was the Stark sisters’ reluctant reunion. Arya and Sansa, though swept through different parts of the world, experience the same ugliness in many different, power-hungry faces. As a result, it is difficult to see each other as anything but a reflection of that ugliness. What they find, though, is that they share more commonalities and always have.
From childhood, both Stark sisters dream of glory, whether in the court or on the battlefield. They both played with “needles” but now find them a necessity. Sansa and Arya both discover the reality of glory and its price. And thus the sisters long abandon their nature as Starks, acting as prey instead as the direwolves they were meant to be. Whether complacently obeying like Sansa, or continually running like Arya, the Stark sisters learn that to live beyond merely surviving requires not letting anyone direct their destiny or identity but themselves.
Once they meet, they also learn that direwolves not only need to be strong. They need to trust each other and cooperate as a pack. As Ned Stark says “The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” Like a wolf pack hunts, feinting and regrouping, the Stark sisters take down the predator scourging their family through trusting each other’s intent and competence. They may not understand each other yet. But they at least come to accept their differences as strengths in protecting what’s left of the North and their family.
Dining with Direwolves
So with this dish, I wanted to cook a representation of Arya and Sansa’s reunion. Sisters’ Stew is already a dish listed in the Song of Ice and Fire books, but it is a cream-based fish and crab chowder from the Sisters, a clump of three islands along the north Westerosi coast. For the Stark version, I decided to use ingredients based on the Stark sisters, where they’ve come from, and where they’ve been.
We’ve seen Sansa in Winterfell, King’s Landing, and the Vale. That’s why I decided to use lemon and pumpkin. Lemon hearkens to her former favorite lemon cakes — a symbol of the Southern court that tore her family apart. Pumpkins are prominent to The Vale and give this stew a sweet creaminess to fight the bitter looks from Aunt Lysa.
For Arya, I chose smoked oysters and chopped clams to represent her time in Braavos with the House of Black and White. I also picked leeks since they were in a thin soup at the Red Wedding, an event Arya missed only by a matter of minutes.
I then cooked the leeks in bacon fat to pair with the oysters’ smokiness and act as a flavor carrier for the lemon and pumpkin. Bacon, an ingredient listed in many dishes from the North represents Winterfell. The love for family and home draws the Stark sisters back to the hall of their ancestors. So like the call of home, the bacon draws these flavors from everywhere else and settles them together where they belong.
So there it is, the second of my six last #Thronesgiving recipes. If you are looking for more mouth-watering ways to bid farewell to Westeros, check out my Fandom Foodies Game of Thrones recipe link-up here.
Sing For Your Supper!
If you plan to cook the recipe off the site, keep scrolling. However, while access to recipes on the blog will always be free, I now have printable PDF recipe cards and thematic cook-along Spotify playlists as rewards for those who choose to support the blog.
The printable recipe card and playlist for Stark Sisters’ Stew will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until Tuesday, March 19th, 2019, at 8 pm EST.
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Stark Sisters’ Stew
Soup with the Stark Sisters
Equipment: Large pot with a lid or dutch oven, stovetop, and zester.
- 4 strips of bacon
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced into half-moons
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
- 1/2 cup dehydrated potato flakes
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 3 cups fish or vegetable stock
- 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 (6-7 oz.) cans of chopped clams
- 1 (3.5-4 oz.) tin of smoked oyster, drained and roughly chopped
- Drain the water from the canned clams into a container with the stock. Set aside.
- Heat your dutch oven over a medium-high flame on the stovetop. When hot, add the bacon and cook, turning once, until crispy. Remove the bacon, chop roughly, then set aside in a separate dish.
- Add the sliced leeks and rosemary to bacon fat in the pot and cook until softened. Then pour in 1/2 cup dehydrated potato flakes and lemon juice and stir until absorbed.
- Stir in the stock and drained clam juice and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin puree, half and half, water, clams, and oyster then simmer another 10 minutes.
- Place the lid on the dutch oven to keep warm until serving with chopped bacon and lemon zest as garnish.