Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Non-Negotiable Ansion-style Corned Beef and Cabbage with Parsley Gravy
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo

Menu: Boiled Corned Beef | Parsley Gravy

Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker had a long, long mission on Ansion, where they negotiated a peace treaty between the nomadic Plains clans and the city-dwelling rulers. Why? Because Ansion being at war would cause them to withdraw from the Republic; this was the only thing the two sides agreed upon. In turn, invisible and delicate treaties between Ansion and other systems would cause an avalanche of systems to defect, weakening the Republic as the Separatists moved to threaten the government.

It was a delicate diplomatic situation, and thus Obi-wan (nicknamed among the Jedi and Separatists as, "The Negotiator") was sent, along with Luminaria Unduli and her padawan Barris Ofee. There were several life-threatening situations, but Anakin found the mission rather uninteresting, overall. He had no stomach for politics, and he hated the formal dinners, the culturally sensitive rituals, the studying of motivations and hidden agendas. Though Anakin was an adventurous lad, he found the exotic foods and preparations to be difficult amidst all these undesired mission parameters.

So when they finally brokered the peace between the two groups on Ansion, they didn't stay for yet another feast. They found a ride back to Coruscant ASAP ... and the first meal they had was nothing more difficult that a pot of boiled meat and vegetables. But it was hot and familiar, and Anakin and Obi-wan ate it with gusto. Luminaria and Barris, however, found the meal wanting, and offered to make a version of this dish — which they'd eaten when they first came on-planet, before they'd been attacked by ruffians. Anakin had groaned, "No more Ansion stuff, please!"

But he ate his words when he received a plateful of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, served with boiled potatoes and parsley gravy. He also ate everything they'd cooked! Luminaria smiled at the padawan's appetite, "Not all things on Ansion are repellent ... and some things do not invite negotiation."

And with a mouth full of food, Anakin agreed, "And thank the Force for that!"


    Boiled Corned Beef
  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1 lb / 450 g carrots, peeled, cut into 2" to 3" logs (5 to 9 cm)
  • 1 bunch celery, cut into 2" to 3" logs (5 to 9 cm)
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 6 lbs / 2¾ kg corned beef
  • warm water
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
Cut the cabbage into wedges, making sure to keep a bit of the core in each wedge so the cabbage doesn't fall apart upon cooking. Place the cabbage into the bottom of a large slow-cooker, then scatter the carrots and celery over that. Scatter the dill seed, mustard seed, allspice, bay leaves, and caraway seeds over the vegetables. Place the corned beef over everything, fat-side upward. Add the water till its about halfway up the sides of the corned beef. Put the cover on the slow-cooker and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. The beef will "strip" easily.

Make the:
    Parsley Gravy
  • 1 stick of margarine or butter (4 oz / 110 g)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 6 cups strained corned beef broth
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
In a heavy bottomed pot or skillet, melt the margarine or butter. Sprinkle over with flour and stir to combine well with the fat. It will form a paste. Cook this over medium-low heat till it starts to brown slightly and smells nutty. Using a whisk, beat in a cup of strained broth at a time. Let the sauce come to a boil, whisking all the while. If the sauce seems too thick, add more strained broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

TO SERVE:
Remove the corned beef from the hot broth and place it on a cutting board and let it cool down enough to handle. With a sharp knife, cut the lumps of lean meat away from the fat — you'll find that the fat and meat alternate in layers. Discard the fat. You can put the meat back into the hot broth till you need it.

Cut the meat into slices against the grain. (If you wish, you can boil some small red potatoes in salted water, till tender.)

On a hot platter, place the wedges of drained cabbage and the carrots (and potatoes, if you prepared them), and place the sliced meat beside or on top of the vegtables. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired, and pass the gravy separately.

ALTERNATIVE INSTRUCTIONS:
You can prepare this in the oven. Place everything as directed in a large casserole or pot with a lid, or cover it tightly with foil. Put that into an oven and set the temperature to 275°F / 135°C and cook for 8 to 10 hours. No peeking till the time is up!

TIP:
It's best to prepare this the night before you want it and let it cook while you're sleeping (assuming you trust your appliances). You can stop the heat in the morning and let it cool in its cooking liquid till you want it, then you can reheat it, before or after slicing.


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