Tahiri's Way with a Capon
by SuSu, Csillag, Wraith6, Iella
These recipes are inspired by Iella's story At the Oasis: Paddy and the Capon, an "alternative universe" story where Anakin Solo never died, Han Solo became a grandfather, and the "Paddy" in the story is a very young girl named Padmé Solo. The dish was described in that story -- a speciality of Tahiri's, served with an unusual green herb sauce. It sounds like it should be either innocuous or dirty, but it's actually very innocent and very funny!
In addition, at a Hut Gathering, we did cooking sessions and came up with a recipe that we can imagine is a natural extension of Tahiri's original roast. It's really good!
Menu: Tahiri's Roasted Capon | Tahiri's Tusken-style Green Herb Sauce | Tahiri's Dumplings and Chicken in Gravy
Tahiri's Roasted Capon
A capon is a castrated chicken (or nuna), which gets very big and plump -- almost like a small turkey in size. You can use a small turkey or a large chicken instead, of course. Removing the organs shifts the bird's energy into generating meat and fat for a more delicious result -- important when you are feeding the ever-hungry extended Solo clan, plus Wes and Hobbie.
In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, lemon juice and herbs, and rub this all over the outside of the bird. Put the lemon halves, onion, and garlic inside the cavity of the bird. Truss if you'd like.
Place the chicken breast side down (upside down!), on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan. To prevent the drippings from burning and smoking, put some water in the roasting pan. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, ther remove from the oven and close the oven door. Turn the oven down to 375°F. On the counter, carefully turn the roast so it's breast side up. Baste with pan drippings, and put the capon back into the oven. Continue to roast for about 2 hours more, or till the temperature of the thigh meat is 160°F / 65°C. Remove from the oven and let the roast stand for 15 minutes before carving.
(Save the pan drippings for a sauce or stock! Put them in the freezer till you've accumulated enough bones and dripping for that.)
Serves 8 or so.
Tahiri's Tusken-style Green Herb Sauce
Han Solo loves this sauce. As devoted as he is to Leia, no one could fault him for preferring the dining tables of other women when only the bill of fare is to be considered. The "other woman" in this case is Anakin's wife, Tahiri Veila. Raised by Tuskan Raiders, she absorbed their traditions, as well as those of more mainstream human cultures. Because there was so little water on Tatooine, they tended not to make sauces to enjoy with food. One exception was this thick, pungent, salty, tangy sauce, which was made with a bunch of parsley, and lots of other "condiment" style ingredients, all mashed together. It's multi-faceted and strong -- you only need a bit. The blander your meat, the more you'd appreciate this green sauce; but of course it's good with Tahiri's capon, too, but be sparing in how much you take. In the story, Tahiri poured the sauce over the top of the bird as a sort of "glaze" which is a great way to serve it, too.
Makes about a cup, enough to serve 8 to 12.
Tahiri's Dumplings and Chicken in Gravy
All the Solo children remembered their Uncle Luke's experiments when he learned to make brown stock just before he married their Aunt Mara. To always have it on hand, Luke made it a habit to freeze any bones, fat, and drippings from roasts to make into other dishes when he had enough accumulated.
Though Anakin was raised in a life of privilege and responsibility, as a Jedi he came to understand the need to conserve as many resources as possible. Part of that conservation is not wasting anything edible, like his Uncle Luke practiced when saving bones and vegetable bits to make stock. Of course, there are other ways to use leftovers too, and this is one of Anakin's favorites. He was wise enough not to say it out loud, but he looked forward to his wife's capon, just so they could have dumplings and chicken in gravy the next day! It's a great "comfort food" dish, and men love it!
The main feature of this dish is the creamy gravy made from the stock, and the fluffy dumplings made with other basic ingredients. That's just as well, because Tahiri's roast is so good that there was often very little leftover for future meals. If you'd like some more meat in this dish, you can buy a store-roasted bird to use in this dish instead of, or in addition to, any leftovers you have. (But save those bones for stock, too! And if you don't make your own broth or stock, you can use store-bought, but try to get the low-salt varieties. Otherwise, as the broth boils and reduces, the saltiness will increase.)
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt. Rub the shortening into the flour mixture -- you might prefer to use two knives if you are using the chicken fat. Stir in milk quickly till just blended enough to form a dough.
Drop the batter using two spoons into the simmering broth (they will expand, don't make them too big). Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. Do not peek or you'll get warts on your face as punishment. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon. Repeat if you have more batter.
Gravy, you can set aside the chicken with a bit of the broth to keep it warm while making and assembling this dish.
Serves 4 to 6.
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