Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Saved by the Crockpot Potroast or Beef Stew
by Rosie

Click here for the Hobbie's Saga-inspired, original poem!

Hobbie Klivian is married with children in Csillag's Hobbie's Saga tales. His wife is on-track toward directorship of a child services agency specializing in mixed-species adoptions. It was very stressful and she didn't have much latitude to say "no" if she needed to attend emergency meetings or deliver documents to embassies and governments. Mixed-species adoptions were fraught with difficulties and such was Sela Klivian's compassion that she would drop everything to ensure a successful experience for parents and children.

Unfortunately, this meant she was often not home in time to make dinner for her kids; this often meant picking up fastfood or just heating through pre-made food products in the 'nuker. It was often less than satisfying, and though the kids didn't complain directly, she was worried when her daughter Nia complained about having a fat butt so she didn't want the high-calorie bought stuff, or when her son Serren told her he'd already eaten a big snack and he wasn't hungry. It seemed that mealtimes had degenerated in the Klivian household, where excuses were made not to eat dinner as often as it was eaten at all.

Sela aired her concerns to Hobbie, and he suggested the crock pot or slow cooker. She was surprised — they had one, but she didn't associate it with quick meals. A stew would take six hours or more in such a device!

"That's the point!" declared Hobbie. "You remember Squeaky, the Wraith's quartermaster?"

"Isn't he a protocol 'droid?" Sela wondered what a 'droid had to do with a slow cooker.

"Yeah," Hobbie enjoyed the perplexed look on his wife's face. "When they were busy, Squeaky would toss a lump or more of meat, a bunch of veggies, water, and seasonings into a slow cooker and go about his work — didn't matter if they were fresh, frozen, or dried, he'd just vary the liquids and seasonings to suit. It took about six hours to prep for the average mission, and if he started it when they got their orders, the Wraiths could have a hot meal before they took off. Wedge and Wes said those were the best meals they ever had as Wraiths. Don't worry, I'll show you! And I'll bet Nia and Serren will like it enough to help out in the mornings if you ask them. You'll see." Hobbie grinned broadly.

Sela did try the idea out, and it worked! How well? As predicted, Nia and Serren DID assemble this stew in the mornings before going to school, so they would always have a hot, home-made meal ready when they got home, "instead of that fattening junk!" as Nia called it.

(If they had more time, the night before they would prep the vegetables and meat into cubes and leave them in sealed containers in the 'fridge to make the potroast into a stew. See the "ALTERNATIVE" and "OR" instructions in the recipe.)

  • 2½ to 3 lb / 1¼ kg boneless beef roast — the tougher and cheaper the better, trimmed of fat
    ALTERNATIVE: chuck steak, trimmed of fat, bone and gristle, then cubed into 1-inch / 2½ cm cubes
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped into quarters or eighths, OR cut into wedges
  • 5 to 7 carrots, peeled and cut in half or thirds, OR chopped into ½-inch sections
  • 3 to 5 ribs celery, cut in half or thirds, OR chopped into ½-inch sections
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut in half or thirds, OR chopped into ½-inch cubes or wedges
  • 6 to 12 mushrooms, whole OR chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 bouillion cubes
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 14 oz / 400 g can vegetable or beef broth
  • water, to top up the liquid level, if needed
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • ½ cup cold water (optional)
Sear the potroast OR cubed meat in a skillet set over high heat on the stovetop. Place the ingredients into the crockpot. (Be sure your crockpot is large enough to fit in as much of the meat and vegetables as you've prepared — the ingredients should not come up more than ¾ up the side of the walls of the pot.) Layer in the ingredients, starting with the meat on the bottom, followed by the onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, then place the tomato paste, bouillion cubes, onion flakes, garlic powder and pepper on top of that. Add the broth, and add a bit of water to increase the liquid level — it should come no higher than the top of the pile of ingredients, and can be an inch or two below that. The liquid will expand with heat, and the vegetables and meat will exude liquid which will not evaporate, so you'll end up with more liquid than when you started. Place the lid on tightly and set the cooker on "low" and cook for 6 hours. Do not open the lid at all during this time.

If you wish to thicken the gravy when the potroast or stew is done, shake together the cornstarch and cold water in a screw-top jar to mix. Ladle or pour the liquid from the stew into a saucepan and add about half the cornstarch slurry to it over medium-low heat on the stove. Cook with constant stirring till boiling, when the cornstarch will thicken the sauce. Add more of the slurry to the gravy if you like it thicker, adjust as you see fit — a thin gravy is very good, actually. Pour into a sauceboat, OR back over the stew to serve. Otherwise, serve with mashed potatoes or rice. Or just enjoy as a roast OR stew on its own — it's a complete meal, either way, and very good!

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