Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Cosmic Balance Chicken
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo

Luke Skywalker had the fortune and misfortune to find out that Leia Organa was his twin sister — unfortunate because he had "feelings" for her which were decidedly not-on for siblings, but also fortunate in that he discovered he was not completely alone in the galaxy. He had blood family!

But it did leave him without a love interest, something the GFFA canon universe tried to address when Luke, Leia, and Han were sent to Bakura. There he met Gaerial Captisan, the heir apparent to the rule of Bakura, where the religion was something called "cosmic balance." Gaerial was taught that the ugliness of Imperial rule was the result of the Jedi garnering too much power for themselves; with every extreme, a pedulum-swing would occur to correct the problem. And so, she blamed Luke and his predecessors for the political and terrifying mess in which Bakura found itself.

Luke, who was not only romantically interested in Gaerial, kept at her because she had a Force-spark in her that he had heretofore only felt in his sister, Leia. He tried hard to understand the limited religion which was the Cosmic Balance; he didn't want Gaerial to hate him for something he couldn't help. Too, Leia made him understand that Bakura represented the first real post-Imperial alliance the New Republic could claim. That Bakura was the foremost manufacturer of repulsorlifts didn't hurt Leia's diplomatic ambitions, either.

Gaerial explained her beliefs as a circle of finite possibilities. Basically, it came down to this: for one thing to be good, another must be bad. For Gaerial to become a statesman, her sister had to live in poverty and need; for her uncle to keep power, another must lose it.

Luke did not believe as Gaerial did, though what she espoused did make sense. And to show her he understood her — really understood her — he produced a dish which used the concept of circles and joining to produce a good all around result — where no components suffered in the least. The whole, he was explaining, could be more than the sum of its parts, and yet still be part of the cosmic plan.

It's not known if she accepted Luke's side of the arguement, but she did warm up to him considerably by the time he was forced to leave Bakura. Even so, she chose not to go with him. Perhaps that was the downside to the goodness of this dish?




Sweet & Tart Apple Marinade
This is the liquid which got Luke to thinking about "balance." It was made of carefully considered proportions of fruit juice, salt, vinegar, spices, and it was something his Aunt Beru used to store for soaking meats in before cooking them. She had gotten the formula from "a crazy old hermit" and Luke never appreciated how good her meat was until after she had died and he started eating at other tables where the cooks were wealthier, but their meat just wasn't as good at Beru's. The marinade's balance between sweet and tart always brought up sweet memories of the good times with his adoptive aunt and uncle, but also the sourness of his regrets regarding their lives and their deaths. When he told all this to Gaerial, for the first time since meeting him, she felt hope in her heart that Luke really could understand cosmic balance.

  • 4 cups apple juice or apple cider
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup orange juice or other fruit nectar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce or 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • ½ cup honey or brown sugar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a stainless steel or other non-reactive pot. Whisk together over gentle heat till the salt dissolves and everything is mixed together evenly. You will not want to bring this to a boil, or the vinegar fumes might overpower you! Bottle, cool, and refrigerate till you need it. Makes about 6 cups.

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Hot & Sweet Dust
After the chicken pieces had been marinaded in the Sweet & Tart Apple Marinade overnight, Luke applied this "dust" directly onto the still-damp meat. It was a formula he'd gotten from Ben, his first Jedi mentor, who had told him it was a spice mix that Luke's father had created to make all manner of food more palatable, "or at least to mask the more alien overtones," as he put it. The former Jedi Knight told him how the Jedi were to imbibe in anything offered, no matter how repulsive or alien. It was a way to maintain balance — and to learn which battles were worth fighting. An aversion to some food items was not worth making a fuss over, so Ben, too, carried this flavorful dust with him to make many foods swallowable, and even enjoyable! Thus Luke carried a "dust" concoction, too, but he found that he actually preferred many foods with it, rather than simply masking-over flavors he didn't want to ingest. Gaerial appreciated that this was a way for Luke to maintain his balance when he was a guest; she'd never thought of food that way before.

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½cup sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup black pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1½ tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried, powdered basil OR oregano OR sage OR rosemary
Either in a large bowl or a jar, combine all ingredients; mix together with a whisk to combine, or cap the jar and shake. Store in a cool, dark place till you need it. Makes about 2 cups of dust.

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Hot & Tart Glazing Sauce
After the chicken had baked slowly (giving him time to meditate about how to convince Gaerial how he felt about her), he applied this relatively thin sauce over it, then kept cooking it till the chicken was bronzed and shiny and beautiful. He had gotten this idea from his sister Leia, who had told him that a glaze was much more sophisticated than any mere barbecue sauce. Anyway, this was much thinner than a conventional, gloppy sauce ... and why does it have to be sweet anyway? The original recipe was firey hot and mouth-puckeringly sour; Luke figured he simply wasn't as sophisticated as his sister, so he added more sweet ingredients to smooth the sauce out to his tongue. He told Gaerial that sometimes, sweetness was the answer to any situation, and it tied this sauce to the sweet and tart marinade, and to the hot and sweet dust. At least, HE thought it was better, and a large part of balance was to have enough confidence in your own tastes to make a good, balanced decision. Gaerial had to agree!

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
In a non-reactive pot, add all the ingredients and whisk over low heat till the sugar and salt are dissolved. Adjust pepper sauce and/or black pepper to taste. Bottle, cool, and refrigerate till needed. Makes about 3 cups of glazing sauce.

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Cosmically Balanced Baked Chicken
At last, here is the method to make the most sublime of chicken breasts; to be this good, it needed all three components — marinade, dust, and glaze. The absence of any one of these would throw the balance of flavors and textures off, and the chicken would not be all it should be. But if you are disciplined and patient and do it right, it was succulent, sweet, hot, tender ... Gaerial smiled at Luke's suggestion that this dish was like religion, or ... love?

  • 12 to 16 lb / 5½ to 7¼ kg chicken breasts, or thighs + drumsticks, or halves — can be skinless, boneless, or keep the skin and bones on the meat
  • 1 cup apple juice
In a non-reactive container you can cover, combine the chicken with enough marinade to just cover. Place a lid or plastic wrap over the whole thing and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Overnight would be better, to a maximum of 12 hours.

Heat the oven to 300°F / 150°C. Prepare a roasting pan by lining it with foil and placing a rack over that. Pour the apple juice into the bottom of the pan.

Pat the dust directly onto the skin of the chicken on all sides, then place on the rack. Pack the chicken against one another in the pan, but not too tightely. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, or with a large piece of foil, crimping it tightly so that the steam doesn't escape when the chicken is baking. Place in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, till the chicken is firm and the internal temperature is 150°F / 65°C for breast pieces or 160°F / 71°C.

Remove the foil and dab or spoon on the glazing sauce onto the top surface of the chicken, then return to the oven until well-browned.

Remove the chicken from the oven and cover it again with foil for 15 minutes to rest. Serve whole pieces to diners, or slice thinly for a more sophisticated presentation (or to make the chicken go further). Leftovers are great in salads!

Makes 8 large half-chicken servings, or 16 "normal" servings.

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