Garula Stock

Gladio eating soup“Any food you make tastes better when you use good ingredients, right?”

—Gladiolus Amicitia, FFXV

For the broth:

  • Bones from 1 roasted chickatrice
  • 2½ pounds garula trotters, split lengthwise or cut crosswise into 1-inch disks (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or another vegetable oil with neutral flavor
  • 1 bulbous wild onion, skin on and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 head of garlic, skin on and halved crosswise to expose the cloves
  • 1 small knob of Kettier ginger, skin on and roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, roughly chopped and rinsed well
  • 6 ounces scallions, white parts only (reserve light and dark green parts for garnish)
  • 7 ounces whole alstrooms, or shiitake mushrooms

For the tare:

  • 20 grams kombu (dried seaweed)
  • 30 grams niboshi (dried sardines)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 27 grams katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • ¼ cup sake
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 1 cup soy sauce

Place chickatrice bones and garula trotters in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, put a heavy frying pan over medium heat and heat grapeseed oil until lightly smoking. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and toast until lightly charred on most sides, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

As soon as it comes to a boil, remove pot from heat, transfer bones to a colander, and rinse well. Using a chopstick and cold running water, remove blood, dark marrow, and anything else that isn’t beige or white.

Return bones to the soup pot and add charred vegetables, leeks, scallion whites, and alstrooms. Cover with cold water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that appears and wiping off any black or grey scum from around the rim of the pot.

Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Check the pot after 15 minutes; it should be at a slow rolling boil. If not, slightly increase or decrease heat as needed. Continue boiling until stock is opaque and thickened to the texture of light cream, about 10–12 hours, checking periodically to ensure bones are submerged and adding more water if necessary.

Remove from heat and let cool until safe to handle, no more than 1 hour. Place a colander on top of a large pot.

Drape with cheesecloth folded into a large square. Strain stock into the colander. Discard bones and vegetables, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Next, make the tare. This is the salty base that you’ll combine with the garula stock when preparing your bowl of ramen. Without the tare, the garula stock is bland and flavorless.

Put the kombu in a bowl and cover with 1 cup water. Soak for at least 3 hours.

Heat the sesame oil in a medium saucepan. Add niboshi and saute for about 1 minute over medium heat until golden, being careful not to overcook. Add kombu and soaking liquid. Just before boiling, when you start to see bubbles forming around the edges of the pot, remove pan from heat and discard kombu.

Scatter katsuobushi over the surface of the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat.

Let the katsuobushi sink to the bottom, about 10 minutes. Strain the stock through a sieve lined with a paper towel or coffee filter. Gently squeeze to release extra liquid. Set stock aside and discard the fish.

Add the sake and mirin to the empty saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes before stirring in the fish broth.

When you’re ready to prepare your bowl of ramen, bring the garula stock to a simmer over low heat. Place two tablespoons of the tare (fish stock and soy sauce mixture) in a bowl and top with 1 cup hot garula stock. Whisk well to combine and add noodles and toppings.

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Lucis Tavern Skewers

kingsglaive“Tastes like a chocobo turd.”

—Libertus Ostium, Kingsglaive

You’ll need wooden skewers for this recipe. Make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

  • 2 cups mirin
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 1 cup dry sake
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • 16 large scallions, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1½” cubes

Mix mirin, soy sauce, sake, sugar, pepper, garlic, ginger, green parts of the scallions, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 1½ hours.

Thread white parts of the scallions, cherry tomatoes, and chicken tightly onto skewers. Grill over medium-high direct heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until well browned on all sides, brushing with sauce every 30 seconds until a glaze forms. Transfer skewers to platter, drizzle with remaining sauce, and serve immediately, preferably with a cold beer.

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.

Luca Stadium Chicken and Rice

Tidus and Yuna in Luca Bar, FFX“I hate it when this cafe is so packed. Every place in town is packed during the tournament. It’s a nightmare trying to find a place to eat.”

—a man in Luca, FFX

You’ll need kabob skewers for this recipe. Double-pronged ones like this are useful so the meat doesn’t slip around.

For the chicken marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger (about 6 square inches)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 6 medium green onions, chopped
  • 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed and minced
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme sprigs, divided in half
  • 1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
  • 1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 10½ oz. long-grain brown rice, jasmine or basmati (about 1½ cups)
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Combine marinade ingredients and half the thyme sprigs. Divide into two containers. Set aside one of the containers in the refrigerator (it will be used later as sauce for the cooked chicken). Add the raw chicken to the other container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

While the chicken is marinating, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the rice and saute until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and salt. Stir and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes, reducing heat as needed and being careful not to let the rice burn.

Pour the coconut milk into a large measuring cup and add water until there are 4 cups of liquid in total. Slowly pour liquid into the rice. Stir in beans and bring to a simmer. Add the other half of the thyme sprigs and continue cooking until all liquid has been absorbed. Lower heat to very low and cover for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes.

About 1 hour before you’re ready to start cooking the chicken, soak the wooden skewers in water so they won’t burn. Prepare a grill for direct heat, using wood chunks such as pimento or apple if available.

Discard marinade. Thread the chicken onto the skewers. Grill at 350 degrees with the lid closed for about 5 minutes on each side, until beginning to blacken. Transfer to a platter and serve with rice and the other container of sauce for dipping.

Rabanastre Roast Chicken

Penelo and Vaan“It’s our home. It belongs to us all.”

—Penelo, FFXII

You’ll need about 4 small lemons or 2 large lemons for this recipe. You can buy ras el hanout at many stores, including Trader Joe’s, or make your own blend.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 1 garlic bulb, top sliced off to expose the cloves

For the spice paste:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ras el hanout
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Remove the giblets from the chicken and discard. Trim excess fat.

Place the chicken, breast-side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Slice 1 large or 2 small lemons in half. Stuff the lemon halves and garlic bulb inside the chicken cavity.

Put the chicken in the oven and begin roasting, uncovered. Meanwhile, mix together the spice paste ingredients.

After the chicken has roasted for about 20 minutes, remove from the oven and spoon some of the spice paste on top. Turn the chicken breast-side up and baste again. Return to oven.

Check on the chicken after 20 minutes have passed, and baste with the remainder of the spice paste. The breast should be beginning to brown; if not, roast for a few more minutes.

Reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 160 to 165 degrees.

Tilt the pan or the chicken to let the juices from the bird’s cavity flow into the pan (if they are red, cook another 5 minutes). Remove the chicken to a platter or carving board and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the garlic bulb from the chicken and place on the roasting rack. Return to the over and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or so, until the garlic is very tender and comes out from the cloves when squeezed.

While the garlic is baking, carve the chicken. Serve with the soft garlic and pan juices.

Quan’s Chicken Soup with Rice

Vivi in Treno“Vivi! I learn art of fulfillment without eating food!”

—Quan, FFIX

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 parsnips, scrubbed and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 turnip, scrubbed and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 8 cups homemade chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice or long-grain brown rice (about 200 g.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 oz. baby bok choy, chopped
  • 12 oz. zucchini, chopped (about 3 small/medium zucchinis)
  • 10 ounces chopped kale
  • ¾ oz. Italian parsley, chopped
  • ¾ oz. fresh dill, chopped
  • ¼ cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add parsnips and turnip and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if the vegetables are browning too quickly.

Add the chicken pieces to the soup pot and sprinkle with salt. Brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add rice, broth, bay leaves, and thyme, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook about 35 minutes, until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs and stir in bok choy, zucchini, and kale. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, dill, and vinegar before serving.

Makes about 8 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving: 346 calories, 10.7 g. fat, 1.8 g. saturated fat, 1.5 g. poly. fat, 5.9 g. mono. fat, 64.1 mg. cholesterol, 361.2 mg. sodium, 753.2 mg. potassium, 34.6 g. carbohydrates, 5.8 g. fiber, 28.2 g. protein, vitamin A 47%, vitamin C 97%, calcium 11%, iron 13%

Queen Brahne’s Fried Chicken and Biscuits

Alexandria Castle“The queen’s favorite dish is deep-fried bat.”

—Ovenmeister, FFIX

When you’re done with this recipe, you’ll have a cup of leftover buttermilk. Use it to make South Gate Bundt Cake.

For marinating the chicken:

  • 3½–4 lbs. chicken pieces, such as breasts, drumsticks, etc.
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce, such as Cholula or Tapatio
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

For the biscuits:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 oz. (8 tablespoons) European-style unsalted butter, such as Kerrygold
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For dredging the chicken:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

For frying the chicken:

  • 1 17-oz. bottle of grapeseed oil

In a shallow baking dish or large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate 2–4 hours or overnight.

Next, prepare the biscuits. Before you get started, chill the mixing bowl and a sharp knife in the fridge, and don’t get out the butter and buttermilk until you’re ready to use them. The main thing to remember with biscuits is that the butter needs to stay cold until it goes in the oven — it’s the melting butter and its rising steam while baking that gives the biscuits their delicious flakiness. You’ll want to work fast for two reasons: so the butter doesn’t melt, and so you don’t overwork the dough and make it tough. If the butter starts melting or you need to stop to take care of something else, you can always stick the dough in the fridge for a while.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the chilled mixing bowl. Put the butter on a cutting board and toss some flour over it to keep it from sticking to your knife. Slice a thin piece of butter and use your fingers to break it into few pieces. Add to the mixing bowl and repeat until the butter is all sliced and added to the bowl. Return the bowl and the knife to the fridge for a few minutes while you prepare your work surface with a light coating of flour.

Remove bowl from the refrigerator and slowly pour in buttermilk. Mix until combined. It won’t look like dough yet, but lots of little pieces; that’s okay. Turn the dough out onto your work surface. With floured hands, gently form into a large ball and press into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle into thirds like you’re folding a letter, then fold in half. You should now have a stacked square. Press down into a rectangle about ½” thick. Use the chilled knife to cut into 8 square biscuits. Place the biscuits about 1″ apart on the baking sheet. Transfer to the fridge.

When you’re ready to start frying the chicken, whisk together the flour, salt, paprika, sage, and baking powder in a large bowl. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess liquid drip off before transferring to the bowl. Turn chicken pieces until completely covered with flour.

Pour the bottle of oil into a Dutch oven or large deep-bottomed skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat. It’s ready for frying when the oil ripples slowly across the bottom of the skillet and a cube of bread sizzles gently and begins to color within about 10 to 15 seconds of being added to the oil. Place each piece of chicken in the oil. Keep in mind that you want them to fry slowly, about 30 minutes on each side, so keep your ears open to the sounds from the skillet. The chicken should fry gently, not sizzle furiously.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Bake biscuits for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and transfer to a serving plate.

When the chicken starts looking like it might be done, check with a meat thermometer to ensure that it’s around 180 degrees. (The drumsticks will probably be done before the breasts.) Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and serve with the biscuits.