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-inch 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%

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Dining Car Casserole

Shadow and Interceptor on the Phantom Train“I love trains.”

—Selphie Tilmitt, FFVIII

  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup, 98% fat free
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (4 oz.)
  • ½ cup sour cream (4¼ oz.)
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 oz.)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. fresh broccoli florets
  • 12 oz. skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (1 oz.)
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheddar cheese, wine, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in the broccoli and chicken.

Spray an 8″x11″ 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Transfer the broccoli and chicken mixture to the casserole dish. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 575 calories, 40.9 g. fat, 13 g. saturated fat, 12.9 g. poly. fat, 7.8 g. mono. fat, 123.6 mg. cholesterol, 2162.9 mg. sodium, 505.1 mg. potassium, 12.2 g. carbohydrates, 37.9 g. protein, vitamin A 27%, vitamin C 110%, calcium 34%, iron 1.6%

Cockatrice Soup

Cockatrices“A fool will buy a sack of feathers for his pillow, but a wise man… he’ll buy the whole stinking cockatrice and get his fill of meat into the bargain.”

—Jules, FFXII

Shot a cockatrice? Save the leftover bones and meat for this healthy soup.

  • 1 meaty cockatrice frame (you can substitute turkey)
  • 1 large onion, quartered (leave the skin on for color)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 3 large carrots or 6 medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lb. cooked turkey, chopped
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets (about 8 cups)
  • 12 oz. cauliflower florets (about 4 cups)
  • 8 oz. whole-wheat rotelle pasta (about 3 cups)

Place the cockatrice frame in a large pot. Fill with water to cover. Add quartered onion. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Let cool for 1 hour.

Put a colander on top of a large pot. Drape with cheesecloth. Strain the bones and stock into the colander. Discard bones. Cover the stock and refrigerate overnight.

Skim the fat from the broth. Bring to a simmer over low heat.

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

Add carrots and continue to cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and spices and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour in 16 cups turkey stock. Freeze any leftover stock for later use.

Stir in cooked turkey, broccoli, and cauliflower. Add thyme sprigs and bring to a boil.

Stir in pasta and continue to boil, uncovered, about 10 minutes, until pasta is tender.

Makes about 14 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving: 162 calories, 4.1 g. fat, 0.8 g. saturated fat, 0.7 g. poly. fat, 1.7 g. mono. fat, 24.2 mg. cholesterol, 99 mg. sodium, 307.9 mg. potassium, 18.4 g. carbohydrates, 2.8 g. fiber, 13.4 g. protein, vitamin A 20%, vitamin C 54%, calcium 4%, iron 9%

Gaia’s Green Trees

Bugenhagen's observatory in Cosmo Canyon“Spirit energy makes all things possible, trees, birds, and humans.”

—Bugenhagen, FFVII

  • 4 oz. whole-wheat penne or rice pasta, uncooked
  • Large bunch of broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Several cloves of garlic, chopped or mashed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)

Cook the pasta in rapidly boiling water until al dente, about ten minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Trim the ends of the broccoli stems and cut off the flowers. Peel the outer fibrous layer off the main stalks and cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces.  Separate the flowers of the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.

Place the broccoli in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Put it in a saucepan with the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat to medium-low, and steam until the broccoli is bright green and very crunchy-tender, no more than 5 minutes. Remove the lid and boil off most of the remaining liquid.

Toss the broccoli with the cooked pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.  Serves two.

Midgar Miso Ramen Soup

Midgar's Sector 8“Each town used to have a name, but no one in Midgar remembers them.”

—Jessie, FFVII

This quick and easy soup makes enough for one person… just the way Cloud likes it.  Delicious for breakfast with a mug of green tea!

  • 3 oz. broccoli (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 oz. dry soba noodles
  • 1 1-oz. miso soup packet (Trader Joe’s brand is recommended)
  • 3 oz. cooked chicken or tofu, chopped (optional)

Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a pot.  Add broccoli and noodles.  Cook for 6-8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in miso soup mix and chicken or tofu, if desired.