Zozo Pub Soup

Gau in Zozo pub“Zozo!? Never heard of it.”

—a thief, FFVI

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 4 pounds fresh tomatoes, washed well and stems removed
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Baguette and Gruyère cheese (optional)

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and paprika and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently and reducing heat as necessary so the onion and garlic don’t burn.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring to a blender or food processor (you might have to do this in batches). Blend until combined. Pour the tomato puree back into the pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Add a few thyme sprigs and bay leaf and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir in cream. Divide into 4 bowls and serve with toasted bread and cheese, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 232 calories, 12.8 g. fat, 5.9 g. saturated fat, 1.1 g. poly. fat, 5 g. mono. fat, 28 mg. cholesterol, 925.4 mg. sodium, 1234.1 mg. potassium, 28.2 g. carbohydrates, 7 g. fiber, 5.7 g. protein, vitamin A 39%, vitamin C 88%, calcium 9%, iron 9%

Dead Pepper Hot Sauce

Zidane Tribal  in Chocobo's Forest“The Dead Pepper has been our favorite food for 5,000 years…”

—Gold Choco, FFIX

This is a thick, richly flavored hot sauce that’s great on eggs or burritos. It’s also a fantastic sauce when you’re grilling chicken — brush it over the chicken about 10 minutes before taking it off the grill.

  • 1 20-oz. mason jar
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 8 oz.), washed well and stems removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • ½ white onion, peeled and sliced thickly
  • ½ oz. dried chiles guajillos, stems removed (about 2–4 peppers)
  • ¼ oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems removed (about 8–12 peppers)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water

Put a heavy frying pan over medium heat and toast the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and onion until they char slightly, about 20 minutes. When they’re almost done cooking, open the windows in your kitchen. If your stove has an exhaust fan, turn it on.

Push the vegetables to one side and add chiles, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Cook for about 20 more minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and transfer the contents of the frying pan to a blender.

Add salt, oregano, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, and water. Blend well, then taste sauce. If it’s flat or bitter, add another teaspoon or so of salt and blend.

Pour the hot sauce into a mason jar or other container that can be tightly sealed. Refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving. The sauce will last about a month in the fridge.

Festival of the Hunt Stew

Festival of the Hunt in Lindblum

“I heard there are traditional Festival of the Hunt dishes. Do you know where they serve them?”

—FFIX

  • 1½ lbs. beef stew meat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, cut into ½” strips
  • 12 oz. smoked kielbasa, sliced into ¼”-thick rounds
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 oz. dried pitted prunes, chopped
  • 8 oz. fresh Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 lbs. drained raw sauerkraut (4 18-oz. jars)
  • 1 sourdough baguette or cooked egg noodles

Cut the stew meat into bite-sized pieces, about 1” square. Dredge the meat in flour. (The easiest way is to put the meat and flour in a plastic bag and shake until all pieces are fully coated.) Set aside.

Heat a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in kielbasa, onion, and mushrooms, and continue cooking until browned, about 20 more minutes. Add the stew meat in a single layer and sprinkle with caraway seeds and allspice. Brown on all sides, about 20 more minutes.

Stir in prunes, tomatoes, and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Slowly pour in wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go. Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add bay leaves and peppercorns, and cover. Simmer for about 2 hours, until beef is very tender.

Remove from heat and stir in honey and sauerkraut. Set aside and grill or toast slices of sourdough bread, if using. Divide stew into bowls and serve with the grilled bread or over noodles.

Makes 7 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (not including bread or noodles): 398 calories, 14.4 g. fat, 4.6 g. saturated fat, 0.1 g. poly. fat, 103.3 mg. cholesterol, 1790 mg. sodium, 403.4 mg. potassium, 31.6 g. carbohydrates, 2.2 g. fiber, 37.1 g. protein, vitamin A 5%, vitamin C 60%, calcium 3%, iron 18%

Airship Salad

Aeris and airshipCid: “Wow, what a ship!”

Setzer: “That landing really messed up the engine. It’ll take a while to fix.”

Cid: “I’ll help. No machine can stump me!”

Setzer: “Don’t touch anything!”

Cid: “Go kill time in the casino! I can speed this crate up!”

—FFVI

You can use any dressing you like with this recipe. Here are two suggestions: Trader Joe’s low-fat parmesan ranch dressing, or for a more indulgent choice, Russian dressing (first three ingredients of the linked recipe).

  • 7 oz. chopped butter lettuce (about 5 cups)
  • 8 oz. cooked chicken or turkey breast, cut into strips
  • 8 oz. smoked deli ham, cut into strips
  • 4 oz. crumbled Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 lb. Persian cucumbers, ends removed, cut in half, then quartered lengthwise
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, washed well and cut into wedges
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 ripe avocado, peel and pit removed, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, warm (optional)
  • Watercress sprigs or microgreens, for garnish (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salad dressing

Divide ingredients evenly between 4 bowls. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

Per serving (does not include salad dressing): 509 calories, 27 g. fat, 17 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 47 g. protein, iron 12%

Elixir Soup

Terra and elixir in Narshe“Show me the alchemist who doesn’t wish in his heart of hearts to know the secret behind making an elixir, and I’ll show you a fraud! Of course, he might already know it… but it’s taboo to reveal the ingredients.”

—Tyak, Master Chef, FFXII

Okay, so you already know to start a pot of White Mage Chicken Soup when you feel like you might be getting sick, right? Well, this is the soup to cook when you’re feeling stressed out, rundown, and in need of some serious super-strength mind and body healing power. It’s packed full of ingredients to reduce your stress levels and make you stronger.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 3½ oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced very thinly
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1½ pounds beef stew meat, uncooked, cut into 1″ pieces
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup dry green split peas (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 pound fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 oz. sweet potato (1 large or 2 small), peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • Fresh oregano sprigs
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 5″ pieces of dried seaweed (optional)
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets
  • 6 oz. baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8–12 cloves), peeled and grated or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup)
  • Diced avocado and fresh basil leaves (optional)

Heat olive oil and coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat just until the oil begins to shimmer. Add onions, reduce heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat as needed if the onions are browning too quickly. Add carrots and mushrooms and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add chicken and beef and sprinkle with sea salt, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Stir in split peas and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sweet potato and continue cooking for another minute. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Add oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and seaweed. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until stew meat and split peas are soft and tender, about 2 hours.

Remove from heat and stir in broccoli, bok choy, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice. Cover and let rest for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and crunchy-tender. Divide into bowls and top with avocado and basil, if desired.

Makes about 12 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (not including avocado): 319 calories, 9.2 g. fat, 3.9 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 2.5 g. mono. fat, 79.1 mg. cholesterol, 966.4 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 724.5 mg. potassium, 25.2 g. carbohydrates, 6.1 g. fiber, 34.2 g. protein, vitamin A 62%, vitamin C 58%, calcium 9%, iron 17%

Viera Soaking Bath

Jote in Eruyt Village“Vieran villages are formed of massive trees linked by suspended paths, with dwellings and small shrines to the spirit of the Wood encircling the trunks. During the day, many Viera come to a clearing in the village, where a glistering spring bubbles up from the earth, to meditate.”

—FFXII, Sage Knowledge piece 71

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree oil
  • 1 teaspoon lavender oil

Run the bathwater until pleasantly warm, but not hot. Plug the bathtub and under running water, add Epsom salt, vinegar, baking soda, and oil. Soak for 20 minutes.

Edea’s Orphanage Soup

Edea's Orphanage“This place is beautiful.”

“Yeah, the flower field… I forgot all about this place.”

—Quistis and Squall, FFVIII

  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)
  • 8 oz. carrots, scrubbed and sliced diagonally into 1” pieces (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 fennel bulb, ends removed, halved, and sliced thickly
  • 1 turnip, scrubbed and cut into 1″ pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 lbs. small multicolored potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 16 oz. chicken sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 10 oz. shredded kale and cabbage
  • Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrots, fennel, turnip, potatoes, and garlic. Toss with olive oil, Italian seasoning, sea salt, smoked paprika, and red pepper. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add  sausage and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Scrape the roasted vegetables and oil into the pot. Add the tomatoes and their juices and stir well. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Stir well, add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Stir in shredded kale and cabbage and serve with Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top, if desired.

Makes about 10 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving (does not include cheese): 457 calories, 12.2 g. fat, 3.9 g. saturated fat, 0.5 g. poly. fat, 2.6 g. mono. fat, 36.1 mg. cholesterol, 1573.9 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 773 mg. potassium, 29.9 g. carbohydrates, 4.8 g. fiber, 13.2 g. protein, vitamin A 45%, vitamin C 67%, calcium 10%, iron 14%