Dali Pumpkin Ale Stew

Art designs for cups in FFIX“I’ve got better things to do than hang out at the pub.”

—Zidane, FFIX

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 2 serrano chile peppers, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3–4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 22-ounce bottle of pumpkin ale, such as Coronado Punk’In Drublic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • About 2 pounds fresh or canned chopped tomatoes and their juices
  • 2 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • ½ oz. dried chiles guajillos, stems removed (about 2–4 peppers)
  • ¼ oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems removed (about 8–12 peppers)
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh corn tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped red onion
  • Lime wedges

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic, serrano peppers, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the garlic is turning golden. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Slowly pour in the beer, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and increasing the heat. Add broth, tomatoes, and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in oregano, sugar, and dried chiles, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.

Remove from heat and discard chiles. Stir in cilantro and apple cider vinegar. Ladle into bowls and serve with tortillas, sour cream, red onion, and lime wedges.

Makes about 12 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving (does not include tortillas and sour cream): 450 calories, 14.3 g. fat, 3.9 g. saturated fat, 1.6 g. poly. fat, 7.6 g. mono. fat, 88.7 mg. cholesterol, 1282.9 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 651 mg. potassium, 40.5 g. carbohydrates, 13.2 g. fiber, 39.1 g. protein, vitamin A 6%, vitamin C 16%, calcium 16%, iron 31%

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Landisian Beef Stew with Bacon, Bratwurst, and Beer

Basch and Noah fon Ronsenburg“After Vayne’s ruse I had abandoned hope for honor… yet never did I forget my knightly vows. If I could protect but one person from war’s horror… then I would bear any shame. I would bear it proudly.

“I could not defend my home. What is shame to me?”

—Basch fon Ronsenburg, FFXII

  • 22 oz. bottle of strong Belgian-style ale, such as Stone’s Cali-Belgique IPA
  • 1½ lbs. beef stew meat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, cut into ¼” strips
  • 1 pound of carrots, scrubbed and sliced diagonally into 1” pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 15 garlic cloves (about 1½ bulbs), peeled and halved, divided into two piles of 10 cloves and 5 cloves
  • 2 large yellow onions, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
  • 2 bratwurst sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces (about 7 oz. total)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ oz. flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 crusty French baguette

Open the 22 oz. bottle of beer and measure out 1 cup. Set aside. Pour the remaining beer into a glass and enjoy it while making the soup.

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 heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Add carrots, 10 cloves of garlic, and onions. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden-brown and tender.

Stir in sausage and mushrooms and cook until browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. Add the stew meat in a single layer and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides, about 20 more minutes.

Slowly pour in 1 cup of beer and 2 cups of broth, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go, and bring to a boil. Stir well and add sugar, bay leaves, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the meat is soft and tender. Remove from heat. Discard thyme and bay leaves. Using a garlic press, add the remaining 5 cloves of garlic to the pot. Stir in vinegar and parsley, and serve with crusty bread.

Makes about 5 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (does not include baguette): 513 calories, 22.9 g. fat, 9.2 g. saturated fat, 0.1 g. poly. fat, 118.5 mg. cholesterol, 604.1 mg. sodium, 645 mg. potassium, 31.4 g. carbohydrates, 4.2 g. fiber, 42.6 g. protein, vitamin A 62%, vitamin C 19%, calcium 7%, iron 19%

Zozo Pub Stew

Terra in Zozo“Great people here! You can trust everything they say!”

—Lying citizen, FFVI

  • 22 oz. bottle of red ale, such as Alesmith’s My Bloody Valentine
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, cut into ¼” strips
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 12 oz. smoked kielbasa, thickly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8–12 cloves), peeled and halved
  • 1 red, 1 orange, and 1 yellow bell pepper (preferably organic), washed and sliced into strips
  • 8 oz. fresh Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sourdough baguette

Open the 22 oz. bottle of beer and measure out 1 cup. Set aside. Pour the remaining beer into a glass and enjoy it while making the soup.

Heat a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the onion and increase heat to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown. Stir in paprika and red pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the spices.

Stir in sausage, garlic, and bell peppers and saute for about 10 minutes, until peppers are softened and slightly brown. Add tomatoes and salt and cook until the tomatoes are beginning to break down, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high. Slowly pour in 1 cup of beer and 1 cup of chicken broth, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add bay leaf, and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until vegetables are very tender.

Remove lid and let cook for 10 more minutes, until stew is slightly thickened. Meanwhile, grill or toast slices of sourdough bread. Divide stew into four bowls and serve with the grilled bread.

Per serving (not including bread): 428 calories, 19 g. fat, 24 g. carbohydrates, 4 g. fiber, 29 g. protein, iron 21%

Landisian Hot Pretzels

Basch fon Ronsenburg“Our paths keep crossing, yours and mine. It’s more than coincidence.”

—Basch fon Ronsenburg, FFXII

If you can’t get Maldon salt, you can substitute sea salt, but it’s worth making an effort to find Maldon salt — the texture is perfect for this recipe, and you’ll find that you end up wanting to use it for all kinds of other recipes.

  • 1 16-oz. ball of pizza dough
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • A handful of Maldon salt
  • Bowls of hot mustard and spicy cheese dip, for serving

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and let rise for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Punch down the dough, knead lightly, flatten, and cut into strips. Roll each strip until about ½” thick, then transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can cross the ends into a traditional pretzel shape; or leave them as sticks — they taste just as good that way, and it’s a lot easier! Leave at least 2″ of space between pretzels and let stand uncovered until puffed, about 20 more minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large, deep skillet, stir the baking soda into 5 cups of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Spread paper towels on the countertop. Reduce heat to medium and carefully transfer the pretzels into the simmering water. Boil for about 15 seconds on each side, then transfer to paper towels using a slotted spoon. Return pretzels to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly.

Brush pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake until richly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with a tankard of strong ale like Stone’s Cali-Belgique IPA or Green Flash’s Saison Diego. The pretzels can be stored overnight in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Spoony Bard Soup

Edward and Tellah“My daughter Anna was tricked by a silver-tongued bard.”

—Tellah, FFIV

For this recipe, use pre-shredded cheddar cheese from the supermarket — it’s packaged with cornstarch to facilitate melting. If you prefer to buy block cheese and shred it yourself, just add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and toss well.

  • 22 oz. bottle of craft beer
  • 6 oz. bacon (about 4 slices)
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 serrano chile peppers, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Minced chives
  • Frozen or homemade french fries

Open the 22 oz. bottle of beer and measure out 1 cup.  Set aside.  Pour the remaining beer into a glass and enjoy it while making the soup.

In a saucepan, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Add garlic, carrots, and peppers, and sauté in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally, until carrots begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

Slowly stir in broth, milk, and the reserved 1 cup of beer.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Continue simmering for 15 minutes, being careful not to boil.

Whisk in shredded cheese, a handful at a time. Serve over french fries and top with chives and crumbled bacon.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving (does not include french fries): 561 calories, 43.9 g. fat, 21.6 g. saturated fat, 1.8 g. poly. fat, 7.2 g. mono. fat, 113.7 mg. cholesterol, 885.9 mg. sodium, 249.5 mg. potassium, 10.4 g. carbohydrates, 0.8 g. fiber, 26.5 g. protein, vitamin A 45%, vitamin C 5%, calcium 70%, iron 2%