So Disney’s The Mandalorian is in full swing, and we have STAR WARS’ FREAKIN’ FINALE coming up this Friday. It seemed criminal not to make a recipe celebrating everyone’s favorite lore from a galaxy far far away. I’ve made some greasy-spoon sliders from the prequels, Chewie’s favorite souffle pudding, and some roast porg. Now it’s time to gather with our dearest ones with a traditional Mandolorian casserole recipe, served family-style.
Click here to skip to the recipe for Mandalorian Tiingilar.
It is the Way…
The Star Wars Expanded Universe has quite a bit to say about Mandalorian culture. Beginning with the ancient Taung species, Mandalorians started as a religious warrior society with honor-based laws and customs, observing destruction as necessary for change. When the Taung mostly perished by the end of the Great Sith War, the Mandalorians began accepting beings of other races and species, binding them by a single, unifying culture believing actions define an individual rather than the circumstances of birth.
Central to this culture of space nomads is the Resol’nare, or the “Six Actions.” This practice consists of “wearing armor, speaking the Mandalorian language, defending oneself along with one’s family, contributing to the welfare of your clan, rallying to the Mand’alor when summoned, and raising one’s children in the Mandalorian ways.” Mandalore culture equally celebrates and values family both born and adopted. Calling a place home is uncertain. Life is uncertain. Therefore the Mandalorians celebrate life at every opportunity with communal feasting, singing, and spending time with family.
The cuisine also reflects this culture’s nomadic nature — including dishes made from ingredients that travel well and have a long shelf life. Some of these recipes include haarshun bread that requires soaking before eating, gi dumpling soup made from dehydrated fishmeal, and uj’alayi cake made from dried fruits and nuts. Most distinctive to Mandalorian cuisine, however, is a spiciness called hetikles, or “nose-burn.”
For instance, onne of the dishes noted for hetikles is Tiingilar, a spicy meat and vegetable casserole reserved for clan and family gatherings. Being a culture that values time spent with family, it seems fitting this holiday and Star Wars season to make a dish that complements these values. Besides, I can’t think of anyone who would choose to eat trail rations over a warm meal on a cold day.
So the standard casserole in American and European cuisine consists of meat and/or vegetables with some starchy binder and crunchy or crispy topping all baked in a vessel in the oven. The definition of Tiingilar never specifies any ingredients by name, so we are going to have to look at some other Mandalorian dishes for clues.
Haarshun bread or “parchment bread” is made with sheets of dough so thin you could see through them. Phyllo dough, an unleavened, thin dough used to make pastries in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, seems an appropriate Earth-equivalent. I decided to bind these sheets together with some blue bantha milk.
Another Mandalore dish, Roba pie, uses the pig-like roba as its feature ingredient. With that, I took some hot Italian pork sausage and cooked it with some red onion and horseradish to add some “nose-burn” to this spicy mix. The only vegetable I saw mentioned was in a Red Gourd soup. Butternut squash serves as an ample substitute, I think.
Finally, to add a carrying starchy liquid, I cooked the filling in some dark and sweet beer akin the Mandalorians’ Ne’tra Gal. It allows the flavors to simmer and mingle like a wedding party, as well a rehydrate the dried cranberries with some extra sweetness. Trail rations don’t always have to be reserved for the journey.
Sing for your Supper!
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A Family Feast
Equipment: Oven, stovetop, 12-inch skillet, 9″x13″ baking dish, pastry brush, cooking spray, and a kitchen knife.
- 18 oz. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup diced butternut squash
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 to 3 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup porter or chocolate stout
- kosher salt
- 16 oz. package phyllo dough, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- blue food coloring
- kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons old-style mustard
- 36 dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on the stovetop over a medium-high flame until it shimmers. Saute onions and butternut squash in the oil for one minute.
- Add the horseradish and sausage to the pan, breaking it up with a spoon as it browns. Cook, frequently stirring for another five minutes, then stir in the flour, cranberries, and brown sugar.
- Deglaze the pan with the beer and cider vinegar and stir-cook frequently for another 5 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in kosher salt to taste, then transfer the filling to a container to cool while assembling the casserole.
- Coat the inside of the baking dish with cooking spray. Unwrap one of the two rolls of phyllo dough. Take up three sheets at one time and cover the bottom of the dish as a single, solid layer. Brush the top of the layer with olive oil and repeat this step until you run out of the first roll.
- Brush the top layer with olive oil then distribute the meat filling over it. Unwrap the second roll and cover the filling in the same three-sheet per layer configuration as you did with the base of the pie. Brush the final layer with olive oil then cut the pie into 12 squares with a sharp kitchen knife.
- Whisk the egg, a pinch or two of kosher salt and 3-4 drops of blue food coloring into the milk, then pour evenly over the top of the pie. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour until the crust is patched with golden brown.
- Let the Tiingilar cool for 7-10 minutes before removing the squares from the dish. Garnish slices with 1/2 tablespoon of mustard and three dried cranberries before serving.