Saturday, December 11, 2010

RPG Buffet 15 (Year of D&D Part 9: Ravenloft, Dragonlance, and Eberron) (48:42)

Catching up on recordings for several episodes of RPG Buffet, including Ravenloft, Dragonlance, and the last game set in Eberron. Following all of this is the overview of the year's gaming.

RAVENLOFT (August 2011)
Because Strahd, the iconic villain of the Ravenloft setting, is so heavily influenced by Dracula and other East European terrors--and also because Steve is Hungarian by ethnicity--the Buffet decided to feast on Hungarian food that night!

Paprikás csirke, or "paprika chicken," is one Hungary's most famous dishes. Chicken is simmered in a paprika-flavored sauce until tender and sour cream is stirred into the sauce to enrich it. Chicken paprikash, as it is often called, is served with buttered noodles, csipetke or zsemlegomboc. Use genuine, high-quality Hungarian paprika, not the typical supermarket variety. 4 to 6 servings

Oil, butter or lard -- 2 tablespoons
Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
Onions, thinly sliced -- 2
Hungarian sweet paprika -- 1/4 cup
Flour -- 2 tablespoons
Stock or water -- 1 1/2 cups
Salt and pepper -- to taste
Sour cream -- 1 cup
Lemon juice (optional) -- 1 tablespoon

1. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet. Add the chicken pieces a few at a time and brown on all sides. Remove to a platter.
2. Remove any excess oil leaving about 2 tablespoons and add the onions. Sauté the onions until wilted and just beginning to brown. Stir in the paprika and flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
3. Whisk in the stock or water, breaking up any lumps. Add the browned chicken pieces and the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
4. Remove the chicken to a platter and skim any excess fat from the sauce. Stir in the sour cream and lemon juice if using. Adjust seasoning and reheat over low flame. Return the chicken to the sauce and serve hot.

This layered sausage and sauerkraut dish comes from the Transylvania, or Erdély, region of Hungary and Romania. Erdelyi rakott kaposzta is Transylvanian comfort food, rich and warming for a wintertime meal. 4 to 6 servings

Rice -- 1 cup
Stock or water -- 2 cups
Oil -- 2 tablespoons
Paprika -- 2 tablespoons
Onions, minced -- 2
Pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes -- 1 pound
Spicy pork sausage (see variations), sliced into rounds -- 1/2 pounds
Stock or water -- 1 1/2 cups
Salt and pepper -- to taste
Sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry -- 2 pounds
Hard-boiled eggs (optional), sliced into rounds -- 3
Sour cream -- 1 cup
Bacon -- 4 pieces
Paprika -- 1 teaspoon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the rice, 2 cups stock or water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set off to the side, covered.
2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium flame. Add the paprika and stir to just cook through and color the oil, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Do not brown.
3. Add pork, sausage and the 1 1/2 cups of stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add more stock or water if necessary to keep the pan from drying out. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Place 1/3 of the rinsed sauerkraut in the bottom of a large casserole or baking dish. Spread 1/2 of the cooked rice over the sauerkraut. Then spread 1/2 of the meat over the rice. Lay egg slices over the pork and sausages. Repeat these layers a second time, finishing with a layer of sauerkraut.
5. Spread the sour cream over the top of the sauerkraut and lay the bacon strips neatly over the sour cream. Sprinkle the top of the dish with paprika for garnish.
6. Place the casserole in oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it is bubbling and browned on top.

Try to use a Eastern European sausage like kolbász, kielbasa or Polish sausage. If unavailable, just use a spicy Italian sausage. Some recipes substitute cooked sliced potatoes for the rice

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 Tb oil
1 ½ pounds lean stewing meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp caraway seeds, crushed with the back of a spoon
pinch of marjoram
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups beef broth or stock
1 medium green pepper, cored and cut inot 1/2 –inch strips
3 small peeled tomatoes, preferably canned
2 pounds potatoes
cooked noodles (optional)

In Dutch oven or casserole with cover, saute onion in oil till it wilts. Remove and set aside. Pat meat dry and brown it, adding more oil if needed. Set meat aside with the onions. Pour in ½ cup of water and stir up brown bits. Add paprika, marjoram, caraway seeds and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the garlic, then the beef and onions and add enough stock to cover meat by 2 inches. Simmer for an hour, covered, adding more stock as needed to keep meat well covered. Add green pepper and tomatoes and continue simmering. Peel potatoes and cut into ½ - inch dice; keep them in water until ready to use. After meat has been cooking 1 ½ hours, add potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough water to cover. Simmer another 25 minutes or until potatoes are done. Taste – may need more salt. Stir in noodles.
Adapted from Susan Derecskey’s The Hungarian Cookbook (NY: HarperPerennial, 1972)

DRAGONLANCE (September 2011)
The Buffet decided to cook out one last time, so Brandon fired up his grill, and Mags made pork chops with an easy lemon-herb marinade. This marinade is also great for chicken. From

Grilled Lemon-Herb Pork Chops (AllRecipes)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 (4 ounce) boneless pork loin chops

1. In a large resealable bag, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, oregano, and pepper. Place chops in bag, seal, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Turn bag frequently to distribute marinade.
2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Remove chops from bag, and transfer remaining marinade to a saucepan. Bring marinade to a boil, remove from heat, and set aside.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill pork chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side, basting frequently with boiled marinade, until done.

EBERRON (November 2011)

Chocolate Mousse
3-quart porcelain or stainless steel mixing bowl
Wire Whisk
4 egg yolks
¼ cup intant sugar (very finely granulated)
¼ cup orange liqueur
Pan of not-quite simmering water
Basin of cold water

Separate eggs and save whites separately (see below). Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is a thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself, forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in the orange liqueur. Set mixing bowl over not-quite simmering water and continue beating 3-4 minutes until foamy and too hot to touch. Then put over basin of cold water and beat another 3-4 minutes, until it’s cool and again forms the ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.

6 oz semisweet baking chocolate
4 Tb strong coffee
Small saucepan
1 ½ sticks (6 oz) softened unsalted butter

Melt chocolate with coffee over hot water (or carefully in microwave). Remove from heat and beat in the butter a little at a time, beat chocolate into egg yolk to make a smooth cream.

4 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 Tb granulated sugar

Beat egg white and salt until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue to beat until you get stiff peaks. Stir ¼ of egg mixture into chocolate mixture and fold in the rest.
Adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1. (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998)

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes
Crepe batter:
2 cups milk
1 ¼ cups water
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 Tb oil

Add milk and waer to flour gradually, beating with whisk constantly so that the batter is very smooth. Add eggs, salt, and oil. Bet until smooth and set aside to rest for an hour or two.

Heat a large frying pan or crepe pan and grease very slightly. Pour large spoonful of batter into pan and roll around in the pan to cover the bottom. When brown, turn with large spatula and cook a moment on the other side. Place crepes on a large piece of foil and wrap up to keep warm in oven until ready to serve. They can be frozen.

When putting crepes together, put a crepe in the pan, cover with a few tablespoons of filling and cook 2 minutes. Roll up and serve.

While chicken, cut up – about three pounds.

Simmer with:
onion stuck all over with cloves
2 bay leaves
sprig or two of parsley
celery leaves
salt and pepper

After an hour, make sure juices are running clear (rather than pink) from the chicken. Cook longer if necessary, then allow chicken to cool in stock. Drain stock and discard everything but the stock and chicken. Cut the chicken meat into small pieces.

8-oz mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter.

Make bechamel:
3 Tb butter
3 Tb flour
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
a touch of nutmeg
1 cup cream
3 egg yolks

Melt butter in saucepan, and add flour, stirring with whisk. Add stock, stirring until the sauce thickens. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cream and egg yolks; heat, stirring, until mixture thickens. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle! Add squeeze of lemon juice, chicken and mushrooms. When hot, place in crepes as described. Feeds about 8.
Adapted from Claudia Roden’s Everything Tastes Better Outdoors (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984)

Download 64kbps mp3 (22.3 MB)

Show links
Dungeons and Dragons (Wizards of the Coast)
Ravenloft (Wikipedia)
Dragonlance (Wikipedia)
Eberron (Wikipedia)

Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine
The Dragonlance Canticle
The BaltiCon Podcast

1 comment:

MattInOk said...

As an epilogue to your year of D&D, I highly recommend the board game Castle Ravenloft. I'm fairly sure it will resolve your feelings of wanting to like 4e.
When my brother and I play-tested 4e, we had a similar feeling: wanting to like it. Turns out that it really was made for board gaming!
Castle Ravenloft is extremely simple, extremely fun, and the random nature of the maps gives it a lot of replay value.