Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Rip and Bust Soup-Stew
by Iella, SuSu

On "Eclipse," the Jedi were hiding not only from the Yuuzan Vong, but from the galaxy in general. Like in the days of Palpatine, the Jedi were reviled and were being hunted, for the Vong had promised not to hurt worlds who would turn over their Jedi to them. Ironically, this Vader-like promise was now impacting Vader's children and grandchildren, and their friends and colleagues.

In that closed environment, there were many things to worry about other than what food tasted like. In fact, to save the air filters and scrubbers, it was generally a good idea not to create anything too odorous or tasty — got to save resources, after all. So like in "The Matrix"'s Nebakanezer, they ingested food pills, or a pasty nutrient soup with no taste and no odor. And like on German U-boats, fresh food brought on board would be smelly and unappetizing inside of three days, so no fresh produce was ever kept on "Eclipse."

But once in a while, they'd all have enough of this isolated, tense existence. They'd risk transmitting requests for fresh produce in any form or fashion — wrinkled, dried, floppy ... as long as it wasn't rotting, they'd take it! They'd chop and sear and boil and make a huge mess and smell up the whole ship. Even if it was bad, it let them know they were alive, and reminded them of the small things they were fighting for — like the ability to burn veggies. Even that was a welcome reprieve from the sterile atmosphere they were forced to endure!

In such cases, there was no real "recipe" but instead it was a formula, simply based on what was available. Tahiri and Han were the kitchen wenches when this was soup/stew was first developed, and they gleefully referred to it as "Rip and Bust" for the way they'd prep the produce, then for how they felt when they ate too much of it! They'd serve it with some sort of bread so they could dip and slurp — ahh, the joys of being alive! (It was also excellent to feed a big crowd — you can thin the soup by adding more water and stock powder.)

  • any vegetable, in any quantity (including whatever you have in the pantry and veggie bins) chopped up
  • oil or any rendered fat (optional)
  • leftover cooked meat of any kind, chopped up (if available, optional)
  • water
  • stock powder, or stock (if available), or bouillion cubes
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Separate the chopped vegetables into categories based on how long they will take to cook. Things like onions, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, kumara, etc. (dense root vegetables in general) should be cooked first, then celery, eggplant, peppers, coarse greens (kale, cabbage, etc.), garlic, zucchini, etc. should be tossed in after the harder vegetables are cooked most of the way through. Quicker cooking and more delicate vegetables like peas, corn, spinach, tomatoes, etc. should go in last of all.

Heat enough oil in a large pot to film the bottom. When it's hot enough to look thinned and ripply, add the hard vegetables and sear them with stirring. Add the next batch of veggies when thing like potatoes are just starting to get tender and when the onions are starting to soften. Keep cooking and stirring over high heat till the vegetables are all just about done, then add the last batch of vegetables. Without cooking them through, add the chopped up meat and enough water or stock to barely cover the whole pile of ingredients. Add stock powder, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the contents of the pot to boiling, then lower the heat to a simmer and let cook for 5 to 10 minutes, with stirring. Check again for seasoning and add more if needed. Serve in bowls with big hunks of bread for sopping.

Note 1: If you prefer, you can use a non-stick pot and sear the vegetables without oil. Or you can use a grill or barbecue to grill the vegetables that way, then put then into the pot as they are done.

Note 2: You can used canned or frozen or leftover cooked vegetables if that's what you have. They do not normally have to be cooked, though you may need to chop them. Save the water they are canned in, and add the vegetables and the canning liquid to the last batch of vegetables in the pot. Do check the flavor before you add the salt, as some vegetables are canned in brine.

Note 3: At the 'Hut, we like a Hungarian brand of vegetable stock powder called Vegeta or SuperVeg, imported by Bende in Chicago, available at www.bende.com. Maggi makes a variety of stock powders of all different flavors, from mushroom to bacon to chicken, etc.

Serves as many as you wish!

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