Making a Heroes' Feast: Traveler's Stew

We decided to try our hand at making meals from the official Dungeons & Dragons Cookbook: Heroes' Feast. The first recipe in the book is the simplest: Traveler's Stew.


I'm the proud owner of the D&D Cookbook and my wife and I decided that we'd try some of the recipes (and inflict them on my children). Heroes' Feast eases would-be chefs into cooking with its first recipe, and given it's cold here in the States we thought it'd be a great opportunity to try out the Traveler's Stew.

The History of Stew​

Stew has been around for thousands of years. There's archaeological evidence that tribes used turtle shells and mollusks to boil foods as far back as eight thousand years ago. But liquid alone does not make a stew; more liquid creates a soup. The key to a stew is a just enough liquid to fill a bowl, which in turn releases more flavor. There are recipes for lamb stews and fish stews in Apicius de re Coquinaria, a Roman cookbook dating back to 1st century BC.

Boiling foods doesn't just make food taste better, it creates new flavors. Cereal grains and root vegetables, when heated in liquid, release starchy granules that thicken the liquid, changing the flavor. The Traveler's Stew is flavorful and that's not an accident.


Our Stew​

My wife, who is far more experienced with making stews, tweaked the flavors a few ways. For one, the ingredients use dark beer, which will change the flavor depending on which beer you use. For another, it uses paprika which definitely gives it a bite. But for a stew that's supposed to feed six people, three potatoes didn't seem enough; we added one potato per person (six in total). We also didn't think there was enough liquid for a six-person stew, so we added some leftover chicken broth and put the potatoes in earlier at the hour mark to soften them up. She also made dumplings (there's a chicken dumpling recipe in Heroes' Feast, but we didn't use it), which helped absorb some of the liquid.

In retrospect, the two large carrots were not enough. For six people, four carrots would have been better. Although parsley is an attractive garnish I'm not fond of the taste, so we used it sparingly.

But the overall result was delicious. Even my daughter, who was skeptical, found it tasty.


Using Stews in Your Campaign​

Given their basic nature of being slightly more complicated than a soup, stews can be used by just about any humanoid culture. Stews are an opportunity to showcase the local flora and fauna of a region; if it's common to the area, it's probably going to be in a stew.

If you have an exotic food in your campaign that you want to surprise players with, this is a fun way to introduce it. In my campaign, a dwarven mining community nestled in the mountains has "mountain chicken" as a staple. It's actually a very large toad that (of course) tastes like chicken. Nothing like finding a frog leg in your chicken stew!


At Your Table​

Could you make this recipe for your gaming group? Easily. Stews aren't expensive but do take some time to prepare. That said, they can be messy, so a stew is probably best as a pre- or post-game meal. They're also best served hot, so it's better in the winter months--or for a true connection to the events of the game, served during the winter while the adventurers are traveling in a cold environment.

Your Turn: What meals have you made for your gaming table?
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca


Stew is popular through history because it's a good way of keeping food fresh. You basically leave a pot simmering on the hearth pretty much full time, and add ingredients as you acquire them. The constant boiling ensures that any germs in the food or water are killed off.

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