Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Bilbo's Farewell Birthday Feast
by Susu & GilArda

Hobbits are a simple agrarian folk with simple taste in food. Bilbo, in the course of his travels had been exposed to unusual foods and exotic cuisines and learned to enjoy them, but he was happiest eating simple hobbit fare. He and Frodo sampled the fare of almost every inn and tavern during their wanderings around the Shire after his return from the Lonely Mountain. This stood him in good stead when he started planning his “Eleventy First Birthday Party.”

The Green Dragon in Bywater had an amazing accompaniment that was served with their famous pulled pork sandwiches. The sandwiches were famous throughout the Shire, but Bilbo ordered extra Cracklin' every time he went there to eat. The layer of skin and fat that was trimmed from the roast, which eventually produced the pulled pork, was cooked separately to make it crispy and delicious. Bilbo personally spoke to the head cook at the Green Dragon and told him that his birthday feast would not be complete without the crispy treat, and that it was a "must-have"! Though it wasn't something they were completely comfortable making, he was not disappointed -- they did a great job. Here's Bilbo's very favorite recipes from the extensive party menu.

Menu: Bilbo's Must-Have Cracklin' | Green Dragon Pulled Pork with Fiery or Sweet Dragon Rub | Gaffer's Girasole Shreds with Orange Dressing | Honey Sweet Herb Tea

Bilbo's Must-Have Cracklin'
Even though roast pork is amazing, many people prize the skin of the pork above all. It's a wonderful balance of crunch and succulent fat, and it's been noted that it's too bad that pigs are not like sheep, and that you can't simply harvest the skin off a pig and have it grow a new one to replace it, for a never-ending supply of cracklin'!
  • skin trimmed off a pork roast
  • salt
With a very sharp knife, score the skin either in strips or in diamonds. Don't cut all the way through the piece, just enough to get to the fat layer beneath the skin. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and roast for about 2 hours at 300°F / 135°C. When done, it will look all blistered and brown and will be very hard. Break into pieces for serving.

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Green Dragon Pulled Pork
The cooks at the Green Dragon made a great show of this dish, but in truth, it was really simple to make. The secret? Literally massage the spice mix into the meat, and let it sit for at least an hour. Then cook it "low and slow," just like American-style barbeque. Don't need to watch it for hours, and you'll know when it's done -- the smell will be driving everyone mad for it! Interestingly, they serve it like they do in the American South now -- in a roll, garnished with cole slaw. And it's really good! The Rub can be as firey or as mild as you wish, depending on the spiciness of the paprika.
    Fiery or Sweet Dragon Rub
  • ¾ cup paprika, hot or sweet, as you prefer
  • ¾ cup coarse salt
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dry mustard powder
Mix the ingredients together and work out the lumps. Keep in an airtight container or jar till you want it.

    The Roast
  • 1 pork shoulder roast, about 6 lb / 2 kg or so
  • about a cup of Green Dragon Rub
Pat and massage the rub over the whole roast. Line a roasting pan with foil (helps with clean up later) and leave the roast for about an hour. Place in a 300°F / 135°C oven for 4 to 6 hours. It's done when the internal temperature is between 170°F / 120°C and 180°F / 125°C. Cut up the meat or shred it with two forks. Serve as is, or on a sandwich.

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Gaffer's Girasole Shreds with Orange Dressing
Gaffer Gamgee might not have understood why anyone would ever want to leave the Shire as his neighbor and good friend Bilbo Baggins had, but the two of them understood each other very well when it came to gardening and good food. Bilbo consulted the Gaffer about his taters and the Gaffer shared his own special recipe for a crunchy summer coleslaw called Girasole. Gaffer was the only one in the shire who knew how to grow these turnipy-crunchy vegetables, and because of it, Bilbo could never be at odds with Gaffer for long.

    Orange Dressing
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup orange juice
Whisk all ingredients together, or place in a jar with a screw-top lid and shake. Set aside till needed. Shake again before pouring it out over the vegetables.

    The Salad
  • 5 lb / 2 kg jicama (also called girasole or Jerusalem artichoke), shredded or grated
  • 1 lb / 450 g carrots, grated
  • 1½ lb / 1 kg cabbage, shredded (red or white)
  • 1 batch Orange Dressing
  • 1 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Toss the jicama, carrots, and cabbage together with the dressing, then add parsley or cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Makes about 15 servings.

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Honey Sweet Herb Tea
Hobbits in the Shire normally had this tea warm or hot, but Bilbo -- whom the others considered a bit eccentric anyway -- preferred it cool. At his party, there was a lot of dancing, so the cold version won out over the warm. They especially appreciated the honey in the brew, to sweeten the tea and provide plenty of energy for frivolity, making the party and the host especially memorable, even without Bilbo's sudden disappearance at the end of the fete.

  • 2 cups herb leaves (mint, tarragon, rosemary, etc.)
  • 2 cups honey
  • 1 quart hot water
  • 3 quarts cold water OR 1 quart cold water and 2 quarts ice
In a gallon-sized container, place the clean herb leaves and with the end of a rolling pin or spoon, bruise/crush the leaves to release the oils. Add honey and hot water and let it all steep together till the water has cooled to room temperature. Add the cold water and/or ice and stir. Makes 1 gallon of tea.

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