Friday, May 3, 2013

Star Wars Day: May the Fork Be With You

Welcome back, Apprentices! Coming up this Saturday is one of the greatest holidays in the history of the Universe: ...MY BIRTHDAY! ...Oh...and STAR WARS DAY! That's right, May 4th is the day designated to come together and celebrate all things Star Wars! If you're like me, maybe you're planning an awesome movie marathon with your friends to celebrate. You've been combing the interwebs for some delicious Star Wars - themed recipes that are a little more creative than well-placed puns (Boba Feta Salad -- Whoever thought THAT one up must've lost sleep in the attempt) and making something green and blaming it on Yoda. I take a different route with my themed cooking. I like to take inspiration straight from the source. There are tons of foods mentioned in the Star Wars universe and very few of those dishes are given very detailed descriptions. To some, this is a bad thing. To me, this is room to play. After some careful research, I've put together a delicious, versatile menu that would please even the most finicky Jedi.

Noryath Meatbread

What is meatbread? Who knows? More importantly, do I want to know? Noryath Meatbread is only described as a type of food from Noryath, a planet in the Nuiri sector of the Outer Rim. The Outer Rim territories are frontier planets, not widely settled and a little bit primitive. My nerd brain immediately screamed, "WESTERN PLANET!" And meatbread became bread stuffed with meat. But not just any meat, we're making pulled pork barbecue stuffed bread! But worry not! You can substitute any filling you like...use ham & cheese, philly cheese steak or turkey & stuffing with cranberry sauce (if you're vegetarian, roast up some veggies)! Holy crap! The possibilities are endless! Those Noryathians knew what the hell they were doing with that meatbread!

*TIP Prep the pulled pork the day before. The longer it sits, the better it tastes and it will mean less work on the day for more Star Wars enjoyment.

Pulled Pork Barbecue


4lb pork shoulder (bone in)
2 tablespoons smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt)
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
1/2 cup water
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

Cover the pork shoulder evenly with all seasonings and place in crock pot. Pour the water in the bottom of the crock pot and cover tightly.

Cook on high for 6 hours. By now the meat should be so tender, you will be able to just shove it off the bone and pull the bone out. But be careful, sometimes smaller pieces of bone break off in the cooking process. Make sure you remove all bone and then shred the meat with a fork. Do not drain the juices!

Pictured above - shredded pork, PRE-barbecue sauce.

Add the bottle of barbecue sauce and stir well. Cook on high for one more hour and let stand. We're letting the barbecue cool for the sake of the meatbread (we will be stuffing fresh bread dough and hot filling makes the dough difficult to seal closed). If you're serving the barbecue on regular buns, serve hot, straight from the crock pot.

Bread Dough
Recipe makes enough for 5 WILL have leftover barbecue. You can easily freeze your leftover barbecue in an airtight container or make extra rolls, wrap them in plastic and place in a freezer bag. Make sure you date the bag for freshness.

1 cup warm water (100º F)
1 packet active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp salt
Olive Oil

Dissolve sugar in warm water and sprinkle the surface of the water with yeast. Remember not to get your water too hot or you will kill your yeast and it won't activate. When the yeast has foamed (about 5-10 minutes) gradually add flour and salt. Knead together until an elastic dough has formed and flour is completely incorporated.

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a separate bowl and transfer the dough to that bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl to coat it with the oil. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in volume (about 1 hour).


Meatbread assembly:

Deflate dough with your hands and divide into 5 even balls.

On a pastry mat (or wax paper dusted with flour) press the balls of dough into rectangles. Spoon barbecue filling into the center of the dough, being careful to leave plenty of space to pull up the sides and pinch closed.

Sprinkle a cookie sheet with cornmeal and place the rolls seam down.

Place on the center rack of your oven and bake for 25 minutes or until bread is light golden brown. Use a wooden spoon and thump the bread. If the bread sounds hollow, it is done!

*Tip If you get a little juice seeping out from the bottom of the bread, don't worry. It's normal. Use a spatula to remove the rolls from the cookie sheet if they're sticking a little.

Spicy Corn Ahrisa

Traditional Spicy Ahrisa is made with greens and soypro and usually served with bread. It was a popular dish served in many cafes on Coruscant in the waning years of the Old Republic. Soypro is described as a high-quality meat substitute. Assuming soypro is a variation on Tofu, these are essentially tofu meatballs. But for the sake of this recipe (and a more harmonious menu), I decided to forego the tofu for cornmeal and incorporate the bread with the Ahrisa.


1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 1/2 cups Self-Rising Cornmeal
- If you can't find self-rising cornmeal, use regular cornmeal and add 2 tablespoons of baking powder
2 eggs beaten
5 Large Fresh Jalapeños - seeded & finely diced 
1/2 cup of diced onion
1 can creamed corn
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
If you're feeling sassy, you can add 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Oil for frying

PRE-HEAT OIL in a large pan, dutch oven or deep fryer to 350º You want about 3" of oil if you're using a regular pan instead of a deep fryer.

In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients until if forms a batter and set it aside for a few minutes.

Carefully drop the batter into the hot oil a tablespoon at a time. Try not to overcrowd the pan. Adding too much batter will drive down the temperature of the oil, lengthen the cook-time for the Ahrisa and it will come out greasy and heavy. You also need room to be able to turn the balls over for even cooking on both sides. I find the perfect number to be about five drops of batter at a time.

Cook until the Ahrisa is golden brown and crispy. Set aside on a paper-towel lined plate for excess grease to drain and place them in a warm oven until all the batter is cooked.

Dipping Sauce

1 Cup Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

Mix all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

So, there you have it! Easy(ish) and delicious! I plan to do a little more experimenting with Star Wars food in the future, so stay tuned! Personally, I can't wait to see what other tasty goodness can be found in a galaxy far, far away!

May the 4th Be With You!

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