Scoundrel's Manly Dinner
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo
Menu: Broiled Chuck Steak | Fortunate Creamed Spinach | Roasted Crispy Potato "Fries" | Apple Brown Leia and Variations
It was a cold day. Actually, every day was a cold day on Hoth ... and one of the first things most people did when they escaped the ice planet was to swear never to go back. But one benefit of living in a cold climate is that you can shiver away a whole range of high-calorie foods, but one does get tired of stews and soups.
When Luke was recovering from the Wampa attack, Han Solo was getting antsy about being kept on Hoth. He had planned to return to Tatooine to pay Jabba the Hut but after discovering an Imperial probot on-planet, all travel on or off the system was restricted. He also didn't want to stay because of his increasingly uncontrollable feelings for Princess Leia Organa, and for her apparent feelings for him.
So he took to tinkering with the Millennium Falcon and fretting over and caring for Luke. "You need firming up," he told the man he called 'Kid'. "If they give you too much care, you'll go all soft. I know, I'll fix you my favorite manly meal, it'll do you a world of good, it'll put hair on your chest too, guaranteed!"
The simple-to-cook meal was actually heat efficient while Chewbacca was turning the engine of his beloved ship on and off during repairs and testing procedures, Han bled off some of the heat near the manifold and used it like a broiler or an oven or stove. The meal was cooked in less than 30 minutes and gave off such great-smelling aromatic fumes that even Leia came over to check it out and offered to carry the meal in to Luke.
Han smiled at her, "This is a meal for a man, served by a man ... but you can help! Want to get on the platter, sweetheart?"
Broiled Chuck Steak
This cut of meat is not so visually attractive and is cut straight through the bones of the shoulder of some quadruped beast. It can be tough if it it's not cooked carefully. Most people will marinade and braise this cut, cooking it slowly to make it tender as potroast. But a bachelor like Han didn't have time or the organization to produce such a meal, and let's face it, braising and potroasting were really a woman's thing. He liked this rough and ready formula there was always an intense source of heat when the Falcon was running, and a steak cut about 1-inch thick would take less than 10 minutes to cook up. And as long as you took your steak on the rare side, it was tender. What's more, because it was a muscley, gristly piece of meat with a lot of fat, it was really the tastiest steak Luke had ever had. (Han told him he almost got Leia to act as the serving platter, for which he got the sharp bones tossed at him from the lady in question.)
Serves 4 normal people.
Roasted Crispy Potato "Fries"
Men LOVE fried potatoes, but on a moving craft frying anything could be hazardous. Besides, to stay in fighting form, oil-soaked vegetables as delicious as they may be are not a caloric luxury any of the four heroes could afford. So Han had developed this version of relatively quick-cooking potato "fries" it's good! Even Chewbacca, who is mostly carnivorous, likes them. Leia had thought they were the traditional version and initially refused them, but Han caught her nibbling on the end of one from Luke's plate and laughed loudly, "I knew she couldn't resist a smallfry, eh, Kid??" Luke was horrified at what Han might have been implying, but Leia simply took a handful from Han's plate and stuck her tongue out at him before consuming them with relish!
Fortunate Creamed Spinach
This is a quick sidedish that Han developed as a way to use up the last of a liter of milk in the Falcon's galley. It was usually starting to go "off" meaning that having it in caf or over something like breakfast cereal was a bit icky, but cooked in a pudding or soup was fine. He also had some leftover cooked spinach from another meal, a bit of flour leftover from an attempt to make a pie ... so he put it all together an came up with a creamy vegetable dish that he originally thought might be a sauce. In fact, if you have a bit more milk and make the spinach wetter, you can mix it with mashed potatoes or cooked white rice for a very interesting man-style one-dish meal. Or a cream-style soup blend it if you'd like in that case. Or, go ahead and use it as a sort of gravy. (Leia actually greatly admired his creativity and the attention he gave to a vegetable side dish very different from other men. He obviously had Dame Fortune on his side to be able to create such a delicious side dish out of odds and ends!)
Apple Brown Leia
Han, not having a real oven available for dessert baking, developed a repertoire of rather easy stove-top versions of his favorite manly desserts. One of them is this version of apple pie. He whispered to Luke as Leia carried the steak plates to the corridor outside of Luke's room, where a 'droid would take the dirty dishes away. He claimed that the slices of browned, sweetened apple resembled Leia's shapely curves, "Here, this one looks like her calf, this one is her left boob, that's the arc of her butt, this one is her elbow ..." Luke sat wide-eyed at the suddenly different-looking slices of browned fruit. Funny, HE was the one blushing, rather than Leia. Han proposed that he rename the dish "Apple Red Luke" instead of "Apple Brown Leia." Ever the well-bred princess, Leia pointedly ignored the scoundrel pirate and simply enjoyed the dessert!
Peel, core and slice the apples into wedges 16 slices per apple. Place in a bowl of water into which some lemon juice or vinegar was added.
In a skillet, melt the butter and add the brown sugar and apples. Cook till the apples are softened and browned, then add the toasted oats and nuts (see "variations" below), and the salt. Toss with the apples till everything is coated and browned. Spoon the mixture into wine glasses or bowls and top with whipped cream or topping.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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