Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Retread Chili

by SuSu & Wraith6

Not every dish attempted comes out as advertised or intended. Sometimes it's because the cook didn't follow instructions, or the weather wasn't right, or the ingredients were the wrong ones. Sometimes it's just bad luck or an accident. Or the cook is simply just bad. Whatever the reason, it's often not possible to throw it away and start over, due to time or expense or pride or hurt feelings. So the only thing to do is either to eat it quickly and try not to taste or feel it, or make something else out of it that is better than the initial attempt.

Recipes for pot roast normally require a cut of beef that is relatively high in fat and gristle -- like chuck -- so that the slow cooking could render the meat tender through gradual melting of these components. It can be done in a slowcooker, but if left too long, the meat can go dry and stringy, even if you cook it in liquid. This is even more true if you use a lean cut of beef instead of the fatty cuts.

Sela Klivian, the wife of Hobbie in Csillag's Hobbie's Saga, was pregnant with their first child. He had been assigned to a space platform orbiting Coruscant, and thus only came home one the weekends. She prepared a pot roast from a lean piece of meat in a slowcooker, knowing he loved that particular comfort food; also, the baby was due in about two weeks and was barely managing to waddle from one room to the other, so she welcomed a dish that was a "set it up and forget it" type. She hadn't intended to cook the healthier cut for too long.

Unfortunately, her water broke and she found herself in labor about an hour later. In all the events that ensued (described in the fanfic Labor Day), the pot roast was forgotten. By the time Hobbie stepped back into the apartment, the meat was definitely overdone. Knowing Sela would take a silly thing like an overdone pot roast as a sign of failure as a wife, he decided not to throw it out.

Hobbie remembered a multi-step pepper and meat stew from his childhood that was usually made with ground meat. He shredded up the stringy meat and dropped it into the stew, and it magically reconstituted and was meatier and tastier than the original stew! He was sure to thank his wife for preparing the meat for him to make his favorite one-pot meal. Fortunately, she was too tired and dazed to really understand what he meant!

    Braising the meat
  • 6 lbs / 2.5 kg london broil or rump steaks, cut about 1" / 3cm thick
  • ¼ cup meat tenderizer or monosodium glutamate
  • 4 oz / 120 mL liquid smoke
Sprinkle the tenderizer and liquid smoke over both sides of the steaks. Wrap tightly in foil and chill overnight. Place the foil-wrapped meat on a baking dish, and place directly in the oven. Cook at 250°F / 110°C for 6 hours till tender. Allow the meat to cool, still wrapped, for at least one hour. Save the cooking juices as well as the meat. (If you wish, you can serve the meat sliced thinly and napped with the jus, or pan gravy.)

  • 6 oz / 170 g smoked, dried ancho chilis
  • hot water, about a quart or so
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped onions
  • 1 whole head garlic, peeled
  • 15 large green peppers
  • ½ cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned salt or bouillion powder
  • 12 oz / 350 g tomato paste
  • braised beef, roughly shredded
With knife or scissors, snip the dried anchos into chunks into a bowl or baking tray and cover with hot water. Seal the container by placing plastic wrap over the tray, and set aside to rehydrate. Do not drain or de-seed.

Heat a large pot, and heat the olive oil. Sauté the onions till softened, then add whole garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chilies and their soaking water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Remove core and seeds from the green peppers and roughly chop, then add to the pot and let the pot come back to the boil. Add the cumin, fennel, coriander, salt, and tomato paste, and stir well. Add the shredded beef and all meat juices. Cook till entirely heated through and meat is tender.

Makes about 2 gallons. It's great reheated the next day!

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