Stewing by Talullah

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Story Notes:

Written for the January 2015 challege: Potluck.
My potluck was an unfinished tale for the October theme: Sweet or Savoury?, with the element “tender”.

Title: Stewing
Rating: G
Theme: Sweet or Savoury?
Elements: “tender”
Author's Notes:
Summary: Recipe!fic where Little Celegorm learns from the best.
Word Count: 829 (1220 with recipe)

Oromė heard the sobs long before he saw their source. The deer he had been following also heard it and lightly fled away. Oromė muttered a curse and sought the source of the noise. In a clearing, an elfling knelt. All Oromė could see was his back, bent forward, and a mass of dark hair. A strong smell of smoke and burnt meat permeated the air.

His hound jumped forward. Oromė tried to stop him, but he was too quick and reached the elfling in two leaps, stopping only to sniffle him. A small face turned to face them, teary and stained.

“My lord Oromė,” the elfling said, rising to his feet and bowing. He did not show fear of the dog.

Oromė squinted his eyes. The child was Noldorin, very fair, well-dressed and, obviously, well-bred. There was something in his posture, Finwean maybe… but it was the hint of freckles in the nose that gave him away.

“Son of Nerdanel.”

The elfling bowed his head. Despite his composure, a sniffle escaped him. Oromė smiled.

“Why do you weep?”

“I do not weep, my lord.”

“Well, why do strange sounds leave your throat and why are your eyes watery?”

The elfling giggled. Then he looked behind him and the corners of his lips dropped. He shuffled his feet.

“Ah, a culinary experiment, I see,” Oromė said. “Does your father know you are alone in the woods? Who caught that… was that a rabbit?” The lump of charcoal in the stick above the fire was hard to identify.

“I caught it!”

Oromė raised an eyebrow. “All by yourself? How old are you?”

“Ten,” the elfling answered, puffing his chest.

Oromė raised his eyebrows further. It was quite impressive, for a child that age. He was about to praise him but something about the way the elfling held his chin high told him it would be received as patronizing.

“So you like it well-done, young Finwė?” he asked instead.

“Turkafinwė, my lord. And no. I… am not a gifted cook. I wanted to practice, to surprise my ammė.”

“I see… Have you caught others before or is this your first one?”

“It is the third that I catch all by myself, my lord.”

“I see. But you did not answer my question. Are you here by yourself?”

“I came with my brother Kanafinwė, but he stayed back there listening to a mockingbird and scribbling in his papers.”

Oromė smiled. “Well, since you are a promising hunter, I might as well show you a few ways of putting your game to good use. Would you like that, Turkafinwė?”

“I would!”

Oromė made an effort not to laugh at the enthusiastic response. His hound was not as contained, and jumped to Celegorm’s shoulders and licked his face. Almost toppling over, Celegorm laughed and gently pushed him down.

“I think he likes me.”

“He does,” Oromė replied, calling the dog back with a tap on his leg. “His lady is about to have puppies. If your parents allow, I would be glad to gift you with one of the litter.”


Oromė did not contain his grin, this time. He was starting to like this elfling immensely.

“Really. Now, meet me tomorrow, here, after you have had your lunch. You will show me how you catch the rabbits and then we will cook them. Roasting over the fire looks easy but it can leave the meat dry and it takes much practice to perfect it. Why don’t we start with a stew?”

Celegorm lifted his eyebrows. “A stew?”

“Yes. When the hunter goes out into the wild, he might as well take some supplies in his bag. He will never regret the extra weight. Other things, he must learn to find in the forest. Tomorrow, I will bring an iron pot, an onion and a celery stalk. We can easily find wild garlic, wild carrots and fennel, and a few mushrooms and herbs too. Then we just have to let the heat and the flavours of each ingredient do their job, until the meat is tender.”

“What can I bring?” Celegorm asked, jumping from one foot to the other.

Oromė was wonderfully pleased with the question.

“You can ask your ammė for some oil and a piece of smoked ham, small.”

“Tyelkormo,” a musical voice called.

“Makalaurė!” Celegorm searched for his brother amidst the trees.

Maglor came into the clearing. He bowed, surprised, upon seeing the vala.

“My lord Oromė. I thought I had heard another voice.”

“Maka, can we come again tomorrow? Please?”

Maglor hesitated.

“If you come early, there is a nightingale nesting nearby. I would gladly lead you there…” Oromė said.

“Then it shall be so. I thank you, my lord.” Maglor bowed again.

Oromė left the two brothers standing in the clearing.

“Did you see that?” Celegorm asked, after a few moments. “He is awesome.”

“Careful little brother,” Maglor gently warned. “Lord Oromė is a vala, not one of us, never forget that.”

“Ai Maka…” Celeborn sighed dramatically. “You are always so gloomy.”

~Stewed Rabbit ą la Oromė

Dutch Oven Braised Rabbit Recipe

What You Will Need for this Rabbit Recipe
A large heavy duty pot with lid (a cast iron dutch oven works best)
2 slices of bacon or pancetta, chopped (you can skip the bacon if you prefer)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, white part, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
Any other aromatic vegetables you would like (fennel bulb, carrots, celery root, potatoes, garlic, etc.)
1 rabbit, whole or cut up (or poultry)
2-3 cups chicken or veal stock
Fresh thyme and one bay leaf
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to Cook It

  1. Get your heat source, whether a campfire, fire pit, grill or fireplace, nice and hot.

  2. Place the dutch oven directly over your heat either by laying directly on your grill grate or hang it by its handle over your fire.

  3. After allowing the pot to heat up somewhat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped bacon. Sauté for a few minutes until the bacon is starting to brown and throw off its fat.

  4. Season the rabbit on all surfaces with salt and pepper. Add the rabbit and cook briefly on each side to brown all the surfaces. Remove to a plate and hold.

  5. Add the onion, leek, celery and any other aromatic vegetables you want to include and stir. Sauté until the onions soften and turn translucent but before they change color.

  6. Add back the rabbit, along with any juices which have accumulated. Add the bay leaf and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

  7. Pour over the stock just to partially cover the rabbit. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover.

  8. Let sit to slowly braise. Occasionally check to stir and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a light boil. After a while, flip the rabbit.

  9. Continue to braise until the meat is tender and starting to fall off the bone. This varies considerably depending on the heat of your fire, the type of meat and the size of the rabbit or poultry.

  10. Remove from the heat and let rest a few minutes before serving. Be sure to spoon over some of the juices and vegetables on each plate.

  11. Voila! Delicious aromatic braised rabbit done old-fashioned style in a dutch oven over an open fire!

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