1. A Hearty Meal
The men stationed at the Nardol beacon outpost were busy about their daily duties -- the most important of which, at the moment, was preparing the evening meal. Those in charge of the preparation sat at the large wooden table in the dining area and applied themselves to peeling potatoes and turnips, scraping carrots, and chopping onions.
"So what are we having for our meal this evening, Thorvel?" Larnach asked as he eyed the large potato in his hand. "It looks like the makings of soup -- with a bit of meat in it, perhaps? You have bread baking, as well, judging from the wholesome smell coming from the oven."
"Yes, it will be fresh bread tonight," Thorvel answered. He rose and went over to the hearth, carefully opening the door of the oven that was built into the side of the fireplace. He nodded in satisfaction at what he saw inside. He returned to his seat and continued answering the question. "I have yet to decide about the meal, Larnach. Vegetable soup is always good, with a good bit of loaf to sop up the broth. But like you, I feel the need for something heartier today, something with meat in it -- stew, perhaps."
"We have eaten no meat for a stretch of days," Radhruin commented. "I would be in favor of a meaty stew, myself! We still have a good supply of salted meat in storage; give the word, and I will bring it for you."
Thorvel drew breath to answer, but was interrupted by the outside door being thrust open with a crash.
"What is it, Gwaeron?" Larnach asked in alarm, as the leader of their outpost entered in haste. "Has something happened? Is the beacon lit?"
"Nay, it is no bad news and the beacon fire remains unlit," Gwaeron apologized as he entered the room. "Forgive me for startling you in my haste! I was simply eager to tell you all that we are about to have an important guest. The Captain-General is coming! Hervegil has seen him approaching from the road, and alerted me to his arrival."
The men stood as one in their excitement at the news.
"Our lord Boromir is coming?" Larnach cried. "This is great news! Much time has passed since his last visit here to the beacon post. Is he conducting an inspection, I wonder? Or perhaps he is on a journey to Rohan...."
"We shall know soon enough, for he will be here shortly," Gwaron replied. "We must make him welcome -- it is a day of celebration when our Captain-General visits, whatever the purpose of his journey!"
"Well, that decides it, then," said Thorvel, as he grabbed the knife he had dropped and began peeling potatoes with renewed vigor. "Bring the salted meat you were coveting, Radhruin; Larnach, get to work on those turnips. Stew it is, with a nice piece of meat to make a hearty meal for us and a proper welcome for our lord Boromir!"
Here is the recipe for Thorvel's stew:
stew meat or round steak cut into pieces
white and/or yellow turnips
beef bouillon cube(s) dissolved in water
salt and pepper to taste
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper, brown in oil, simmer until tender. (Gondorians didn't have pressure cookers but you can use one! Cook the meat in the pressure cooker for 15-20 minutes @ 10 lbs. pressure.)
2. Cut up the vegetables and add to the cooked meat, along with the bouillon cube dissolved in water.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Other seasonings (such as dried parsley, dried fenugreek or rosemary) can also be added.
4. Add water or beef broth as needed; thicken the broth with flour or cornstarch when the vegetables are tender.
5. Enjoy your meal!
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.