Thomas’s Mystical Cauldron: The Old Man and the Stew
The true origin of the Cauldron is unknown. Hundreds of theories have arisen over the years each more fantastical than the last. Some say Thomas conjured it from another plane of existence, others claim he created it himself from the armor of slain enemies. Whatever the truth of its origins, the stories surrounding the cauldron all include Thomas appearing out of the blue among travelers as they camp carrying a massive cauldron. Without invitation Thomas makes himself at home and begins telling stories.
Those that have encountered Thomas and his Mystical Cauldron share tales of the elder wizard rambling on about his younger years, adventures, monsters slain, princesses saved, and even other worlds explored. He begins weaving these tales all the while kicking over whatever the travelers had cooking in the fire, and replacing it with the Cauldron.
The more common version of the tale has Thomas sprinkling in strange magical words into his stories like so much seasoning. Cooking the epic stories to perfection. The party of accomplished adventurers he came upon were transfixed. They could not, or dared not move while they listened to the old wizard. Some claimed they could feel his power, others that they felt sorry for the prattling old fool.
Whatever the reasons for welcoming Thomas into their midst, the outcomes were always the same. When Thomas’s magical stories draw to a close, the Cauldron is full of a potent, magical stew that the old man called, goo-yaash. As the tale goes, a badly wounded member of the adventuring party was compelled to try Goo-Yaash, witnessing her wounds heal immediately! Not only that, a feeling of incredible calm and focus came over anyone that ate from the Cauldron.
After the feast, Thomas thanked the travelers for their company, snapped his fingers, and vanished with the Cauldron leaving behind a roll of parchment. The legend continues to this day that in a time of need, the Cauldron will appear over the camp fire of worthy adventurers. If you ever find yourself lucky enough to partake of the Cauldron’s offerings, don’t forget to thank Thomas after the meal!
Homebrew Magic Item: Thomas’s Mystical Cauldron
The cauldron is a legendary magic item. It does not require attunement.
Once the party makes camp and they run low on food, roll 1d20. If the result is 1 or 20, the cauldron appears on a three-legged stand with mystical green fire to heat it. Inside the cauldron curious adventurers find a scroll, wh
ich contains a secret recipe written in an ancient language that seems indecipherable. However, if a character spends 1 hour attempting to decipher the scroll the magic is released and the cauldron fills with a delicious smelling stew that lasts for 2 hours before disappearing.
The Cauldron contains enough bowls of stew to feed every person within 100 feet of the Cauldron at the time of casting. Eating a bowl of the stew has the same effects as a Superior Healing Potion, healing 8d4 + 8 Hit Points immediately and filling the character with calm and focus, ending any and all harmful conditions currently affecting the characters. Characters may only gain the effects of the Cauldron’s stew once every 24 hours, and any remaining stew will disappear with the cauldron at the end of the spell’s duration.
Fanatic 5’s favorite recipe: Gulyás (pronounce: goo-yaash).
One of the more unbelievable tales of Thomas’s Mystical Cauldron is that he traveled to a far away land called Hungary to learn the recipe for his stew. But who would believe that?
Now this is a very rich and potent food, you definitely won’t be hungry after this.
Quantities of the gulyás are for 6 people.
(Don’t forget to get lots of bread! The food will ask for it.)
- 1 kg of beef. Chop to 1.5-2cm cubes. After a lot of experimenting with different meat types, I currently use the part that’s called “silverside”.
- 1 kg of potato. Chop to 1.5-2cm cubes as well. It’s important to keep the meat – potato ratio close to 1:1.
- 80g lard. I understand that this can be tricky in some places, but if you have the option, use lard. Using olive oil and sunflower oil just won’t yield the same result. If you can, use the lard of “mangalica” or “mangalitsa” pork. Trust me.
- 300g onion. Chopped to small pieces.
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed.
- 150g green pepper. Chopped to small 1.5-2cm pieces.
- 150g fresh tomato. Chopped to small pieces. If you have time, it’s best if you remove the skin of the tomato. Again, trust me.
- 20g sweet ground paprika.
- Bouillon beef cubes. You need to make appx. 3 litres of bouillon made of this, with 1.5x density.
- 8g ground caraway (cumin) seed
- Pinched noodles (see below)
Just mix them in a large bowl, until the paste is even. Then “pinch” small noodles from the paste, roll them into a small ball and put them aside. We’re going to need them at the last step of our goulash.
- 4 large egg
- 8 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 24 tablespoons all-purpose flour
How to prepare the goulash?
You will need:
- A large cauldron (kettle) with a lid
- Open fire
- Adequate stand (for example, three-legged) to adequately hang your kettle above the fire.
- A long wooden spoon (you will work above open fire, you need a long one!). I use one that’s 1m long with a large head.
So once the fire is there, and the kettle is hanging nicely above it, put the lard inside and let it melt into liquid once more. Next put the onions into the kettle and continuously stir it, until it becomes golden-yellow. Be careful to not overcook the onions. Keep a close watch and keep stirring. We want them yellow, not brown!
Lower the heat a bit (for example, put the kettle a bit higher on the chain), then add the ground paprika, and stir it very quickly so it’s even. Then add the meat, keep stirring and add salt. How much salt? It depends on your taste! I usually add 2-3 tea spoons. You can add some later to adjust the taste, we need it now so that the meat will start to yield liquid.
Continue stirring, until the outside party of all the meat cubes are slightly fried. Then leave it simmer for a bit, occasionally stirring – the meat will soon start to “sweat”. Once that phase is over, and most of that juice has evaporated, add the garlic and the caraway seeds, then stir it again so they are distributed evenly.
Now add some water – just enough so that it’s covering around half of the meat, and cover the kettle with a lid. Now this is the longest and most boring part: you need to stir occasionally. The meat should not be cooked or boiled, it must be braised – this means that you are using the steam that’s coming off the water, not the water itself. I used to almost-totally evaporate the water (it’s impossible to evaporate all), then add some more – and repeat this procedure 3 times in total. This will make the meat tender, and rich with taste.
Now when it’s finished, and you’ve evaporated the water for the last time, you’ll get a thick juice and the meat. Put the potato inside and stir it. Be careful not to smash the potatoes! Stir it gently until the potatoes are a bit “glassy” (you’ll know what I mean), then pour the bouillon inside. Stir a bit again.
Now put the green pepper and the tomatoes inside, and stir it again. After a while the potatoes will start to soften – when they are almost ready, just put the pinched noodles inside the kettle and stir them. When most of them have floated to the top of the stew cooked, you are ready!
Before completion, check the taste and add salt, water or bouillon as needed! Be careful, the temperature of the food will be very-very hot!
This is a favorite dish of ours and is excellent for adventuring parties or family dinners.
The Fanatic 5 Team