Cook’s Recipe: Pepper Hot Pot

The pot in question.

Relshaar accepted the bowl from his captors with bound hands, struggling to balance it on his knee to eat with the wooden spoon they gave him as well. “Thanks for the stew,” he said to the goliath warriors’ backs as they returned to their fire.

“Hot pot,” Elinor corrected, her hands bound as well. The eladrin balanced her bowl more easily than Relshaar and ate much more daintily than the half-orc as well. “I believe this would be considered a hot pot.”

“What in the Nine Hells are you talking about?” the half-orc demanded, his voice so filled with venom that the goliath raiders who had taken them captive stopped and turned back to the pair in surprise.

Elinor affected not to notice her companion’s tone and swallowed her bite of food gracefully. “I believe with so many ingredients and so little broth this would be considered a hot pot. They are no doubt cooking with a metal pot rather than the traditional ceramic vessel but I believe the presentation argues for the more specific designation, don’t you?”

Relshaar’s eyes flared dangerously as he stood with his bound hands causing his shoulders to bulge with his strength. “You told me the road was safe and got us into this mess,” he told the eladrin in a tone of cold fury, “and now you have the gall to lecture me about… damned culinary terms!” The goliaths who had brought dinner moved back cautiously towards the captives, joined immediately by their two companions gathered around the cooking fire. The giantfolk exchanged mumurs in their own tongue, no doubt placing wagers on the outcome of their prisoners’ fight. “You’ve got a lotta nerve, pointy-ears. Too much!”

In an instant the half-orc’s arms burst through his bonds and he rushed forward. At the last instant he pivoted on his heel, coming at the goliaths in a rush rather than Elinor. Two of the giants were knocked unconscious by his rampaging fists and the others were struck down by a flash of lightning from the eladrin wizard. Relshaar booted the unconscious forms for good measure before turning to untie his friend. “Next time,” she said as her hands were freed, “let us refrain from racial slurs, yes?”

“I was in the moment,” Relshaar replied, rubbing his wrists and retrieving their gear. He turned quickly to go but paused a minute glancing at the fire. “It did look good, though. Let’s take the stew.”

Elinor smiled calmly but said only four words. “You mean ‘hot pot.'”

This is my favorite sort of recipe: chop everything up and throw it in the pot to cook. I cooked this the other night while playing Arkham Horror and kept just half an eye on it while it cooked on the stove. I’m pleased to say the hot pot was a hit and I shot Y’golonac in the face with an elephant gun. Victories all around.

2 Tb olive oil
1 lb. beef tenderloin (or something else tender)
1 red onion
1/2 yellow onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
2 stalks celery

2 Tb tomato paste
2 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsnip (optional garnish)

Deep skillet
Slotted spoon

Prepare all of the ingredients for cooking according to the following:
Beef Tenderloin: Cut into thin strips or bite-sized pieces.
Onions: Slice and cut into thin strips.
Garlic: Minced. If you get a jar of minced garlic, a spoonful should do.
Peppers: Remove the core of the peppers with the seeds and remove the white ribs as well.
Celery: Cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces and then slice into thin strips.

1. In the large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the beef until it is browned and cooked through, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

3. Add the peppers, celery, tomato paste, broth, salt and pepper. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when the peppers and celery are both tender.

4. Stir in the beef until it is thoroughly heated through and then serve in bowls. You can add parsnip as an optional garnish.

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