Ivalice Stewed Chicken with Olives

Ivalice“Food would be a start—the good stuff, mind you.”

—Balthier, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly crosswise (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • One 2-ounce can anchovies, drained and chopped
  • 1½ lbs. skinless boneless chicken thighs, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 8 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup (180 grams) whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 12-ounce jar pitted Kalamata olives, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large, deep oven-safe skillet with lid.  Add onion and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently and reducing heat as needed to prevent burning. Add anchovies and spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Push anchovies and vegetables to the side and add chicken. Sprinkle with flour and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Slowly pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. When the wine is at a simmer, slowly pour in ½ cup broth. Add tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until chicken is very tender.

Uncover and stir in olives. Cook for 15 or so minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, place couscous in a large Tupperware container. Heat 1½ cups broth to boiling and pour over the couscous, stirring once to make sure that the liquid is evenly distributed. Cover tightly and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and divide into 4 bowls, about 4 ounces of couscous per person. Divide stew into each bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

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Ivalice Eggs

Estersand“The region consisting of the three continents of Valendia, Ordalia, and Kerwon, blessed throughout with verdant natural landscapes and climatic conditions supporting a great variety of life. Regional climate trends are thought to be determined largely by the density of Mist present in the air, though this correlation is as yet not well understood. Many humanoids call Ivalice home, each belonging to a distinct cultural sphere. By far, most prevalent of these are the humes, and it is around the civilization that affairs throughout the rest of the world revolve.”

—FFXII, Sage Knowledge piece 29

  • ½ cup (90 grams) whole-wheat couscous
  • 1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly crosswise (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Place couscous in a large Tupperware container. Heat ¾ cup (6 ounces) of broth to boiling and pour over the couscous, stirring once to make sure that the liquid is evenly distributed. Cover tightly and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, and cumin, and cook until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes, lowering heat as necessary to avoid burning the vegetables.

Add chopped tomatoes and the remaining ¾ cup broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and divide into two bowls, about 4 ounces of couscous per person. Spoon tomatoes and eggs on top. Sprinkle with feta and parsley and serve.

Sky Pirate’s Sandwich

Balthier Bunansa“A pirate would do well to smile. Wouldn’t want to sour his reputation.”

—Jules, FFXII

This sandwich is best when it’s freshly cooked — leftovers become dry and less flavorful. Make a full batch of the chickpea batter, but only fry as much as you can eat in one sitting and store the rest of the batter in the fridge. It will keep for about a week, or you can shape it into balls and freeze for several months.

For the sauce:

  • 7 oz. plain lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 lb. Persian cucumbers, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the chickpea batter:

  • ½ pound dry chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh curly parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 17-oz. bottle grapeseed oil

For the sandwich:

  • Mediterranean flatbread
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh romaine lettuce
  • Thinly sliced white onion

Start about 8 hours before you want to serve the sandwiches. First, place the dried garbanzo beans in a large bowl and cover with 4 cups of cold water. Next, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and refrigerate.

About 2 hours before you want to serve the sandwiches, drain and rinse the chickpeas and pour them into a food processor or blender along with the chopped onion, parsley, garlic, flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Blend until mixture is combined, but still chunky. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1–2 hours.

When you’re ready to start cooking, pour the bottle of oil into a large skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, start shaping the chickpea mixture into round balls or patties, about 2 tablespoons of mixture per ball.

Drop a test ball into the center of the skillet. It should take about 3 minutes per side to brown. If it’s browning too fast, reduce heat before adding the rest of the balls. Once they’re fried on both sides, remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with warm flatbread, yogurt sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and raw onion.

Makes about 21 balls. When the oil has cooled, you can transfer it to a tightly-sealed container and refrigerate it up for up to a month to reuse in another recipe, such as Queen Brahne’s Fried Chicken and Biscuits.

Tsenoble Pork Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce

Vaan taking the cab to Tsenoble“Good to be back, eh? My regards to your lord father, Master Ffamran… er, rather, Master ‘Balthier.’ Anon, anon.”

—Jules, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds)
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 7 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g.) prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g.) Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon (7 g.) Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Crystal
  • Snipped chives (optional)

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add pork and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, turning and seasoning occasionally, until all sides are golden and crispy, about 40–45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the horseradish sauce. Mix together the yogurt, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Check the tenderloin’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Continue cooking and turning until thermometer inserted in center registers 140–145 degrees. Remove and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice into ½-inch-thick medallions and serve with horseradish sauce.

After you’ve finished eating, hand wash your cast-iron skillet with water and a soft sponge, then dry immediately and rub with a light coat of vegetable oil, such as grapeseed. Any leftover horseradish sauce goes great with smoked salmon and crackers, or on a baked potato.

Rozarrian Pork Stew

Ashe and Al-Cid“You must permit me to take you back with me to Rozarria.”

—Al-Cid Margrace, FFXII

This is a useful recipe when you have meat left over from a barbecue. Because the pork shoulder was cooked with a spice rub, I didn’t include any additional seasonings. If you’re using a less strongly seasoned meat, you could include a tablespoon of smoked paprika or chili powder.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled and halved
  • 1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped
  • 6 oz. cooked chorizo, andouille, or other spicy smoked sausage, cut into ½” rounds
  • 1 lb. cooked pork shoulder
  • 1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 10 oz. chopped kale
  • 2 15-oz. cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and sausage. Cook for about 15 minutes, until sausage is browned on all sides.

Stir in the pork, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the pork shoulder is very tender.

Stir in kale and chickpeas and simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

(Al-Cid recommends serving this stew with crusty bread and an ample quantity of full-bodied red wine, such as Tempranillo.)

Makes about 7 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving: 450 calories, 21.4 g. fat, 6.3 g. saturated fat, 1.9 g. poly. fat, 9 g. mono. fat, 75.6 mg. cholesterol, 1231.2 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 535.5 mg. potassium, 35 g. carbohydrates, 9 g. fiber, 28.2 g. protein, vitamin A 72%, vitamin C 87%, calcium 12%, iron 30%

Old Archades Bread Pudding

Jules in Old Archades“The runoff from Archades proper pools here: those who lack papers to live in the city itself. The mighty who have fallen, and the fallen who would be mighty. Their eyes never leave Archades.”

—Balthier, FFXII

Make use of stale bread and past-their-prime tomatoes with this thrifty recipe.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (not rogue!), skin on, washed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. Italian or French bread, roughly sliced
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the onions are browning too quickly. Add garlic and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Stir in salt, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the bread slices in a bowl and cover with chicken or vegetable stock. (Water or wine are also options, if preferred.) Tear the bread into chunks and add to the tomato mixture. Add the remaining liquid from the bowl. Continue simmering until the bread is absorbed into the texture of the pudding, about 1 hour, stirring and reducing heat as necessary to prevent sticking.

Remove from heat and stir in the basil and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve, garnished with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.  Per serving: 274 calories, 8.1 g. fat, 1 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 5 g. mono. fat, 1250.4 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 372 mg. potassium, 42.8 g. carbohydrates, 2.4 g. fiber, 7.9 g. protein, vitamin A 10%, vitamin C 26%, calcium 6%, iron 17%