Star Wars Menu: “Vader’s Killer Taters” by Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Just in time for the Super Bowl (or the next Boonta Eve Classic), I have an epic Empire dish for you to serve while cheering on your favorite team. The Empire would certainly appreciate the “bread and circuses” aspect of our own galaxy’s ancient and modern cultures. Now, Darth Vader might not appreciate the spice inherent in this dish—we never do see Lord Vader eat anything, do we? He must have to be fed intravenously through his lovely suit. That’s quite a tragic change from the carefree young Anakin Skywalker, who seemed to enjoy dining. Perhaps Vader would use this southwestern-style poutine as a test to see if you have the right stuff. If you don’t, of course, use a mild sausage and cut down on all the hot stuff. I live in New Mexico, so we’re used to killer spice; we even live for it.
“Vader’s Killer Taters”
– 26-32 ounces seasoned frozen potatoes (your choice—skinny fries, steak fries, tater tots)
– 1 pound cheese curds, cut into ½” chunks (can’t find any readymade? Chop or shred Monterey Jack and/or Cheddar; or crumble some Mexican cheeses, such as queso Panela or queso Fresca)
– 1 pound chorizo (or hot Italian sausage), casings removed
– About 1 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
– ¼ cup salted butter
– ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
– ½ teaspoon pepper
– ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
– 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
– 4 ounces roasted and chopped green chile, with juice
Need a garnish? Fry up some over-medium eggs, for an oozy, cholesterol-rich treat.
Preheat oven to 450°. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Pour potatoes on the sheet, then coat them with cooking spray all over. Bake as directed on the package, but add 5 minutes to the total time. Stir potatoes 3 times. You want them to be very crispy, but not burnt. Cut up the cheese and set aside.
Meanwhile, coat a 5-quart deep skillet with cooking spray. Sauté the meat and onion until the pink is gone, breaking up the meat. Drain; re-use pan. Melt the butter over rather heat. Whisk in the flour and seasonings until thicker and smooth. Add the broth and chile and boil 2 minutes; add back the meat and onion. Cook, uncovered, on a medium heat, 10-15 minutes. Whisk a few times.
You can serve this as a sort of casserole by placing all the potatoes in a 13″ by 9″ baking dish (or even an 11″ by 15″ dish, depending on the amount of potatoes you end up baking), topping it with all of the cheese, then pouring all the gravy over. This is the perfect treatment for a party.
You can also serve this individually by dividing the potatoes on each plate, topping with cheese, and pouring gravy over (see the photo for this suggestion).
Either way you serve it, you’ll want to serve it immediately. The hot gravy and potatoes will sort of melt the cheese, but not completely—which is just how you want to serve it. Cover and refrigerate leftovers; don’t freeze. Serves 6-8.
A great recipe to make for your Super Bowl party on February 5th!
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Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls , which is now available from Oloris Publishing and Amazon! She loves Middle-earth, Narnia, the Final Frontier, and many other things besides. She has a special love for the Galaxy Far, Far Away. She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. Visit her website for more information: Astrid Tuttle Winegar | Cooking for Halflings & Monsters.