Takka’s After-Hours Chili

takka“Y’all wanna fetch some edibles for me?”

—Takka, FFXV

This one isn’t listed on the menu at Takka’s Pit Stop, probably because one of the main ingredients is whiskey. But if you can get on Takka’s good side, he might offer you a bowl after hours.

Make sure you buy Spanish chorizo, not Mexican chorizo (they’re quite different). If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, you can substitute another cured and smoked sausage like salami. The spicier the better!

Finally, when you’re done cutting up the pork shoulder, save the bone in your freezer for stock. I usually have a big bag with vegetable ends, chicken bones, and other assortments. When it gets full, I dump it into a pot, add water, and simmer low for a few hours. Homemade stock is one of the best things you can do to improve your cooking, and it’s easy.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 pound pork shoulder, bone removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 to 8 ounces raw bacon (half a package), cut into ½” strips
  • 1 large onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 14-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  •  4 cups chicken broth
  • 200 ml whiskey such as Jim Beam, divided
  • 4 ounces Spanish chorizo, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Sour cream
  • Chives

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes. Add onions and celery and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Stir in beans, chipotles, cumin, broth, and ½ cup whiskey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours, until pork is tender.

Stir in chorizo and remaining ¼ cup whiskey. Simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, about 10 minutes more. Stir in cilantro. Ladle into bowls and serve with sour cream and chives. Makes about 9 servings.

 

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%

Ruby’s Mini-Theater Chili

Ruby's Mognet letter to ZidaneCinna: “H-Hey, Ruby! I heard you started a mini-theater.”

Ruby: “That’s right, darlin’! My plays are a hit!”

Blank: “Cool! Let’s go watch!”

Marcus: “Yeah!”

Ruby: “Alright, cowboys! Zidane… You ain’t comin’, are ya? That’s awright, darlin’. Come on over whenever you want. Let’s go, boys!”

—FFIX

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lbs. ground beef (chuck), 85% lean
  • 4 tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 14-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 4 15-oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Finely diced white onion
  • Finely diced green jalapeno peppers
  • Oyster crackers or saltine crackers

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the ground beef, use a spatula to break into bite-sized pieces, and sprinkle with chili powder, flour, salt, sugar, cornstarch, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Remove lid and continue to simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and serve hot with cheese, onion, jalapeno peppers, and crackers for toppings.

Makes 12 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (does not include toppings): 414 calories, 19.6 g. fat, 7 g. saturated fat, 0.7 g. poly. fat, 9.1 g. mono. fat, 77.1 mg. cholesterol, 1224.7 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 340 mg. potassium, 27.4 g. carbohydrates, 7.3 g. fiber, 29.9 g. protein, vitamin A 2%, vitamin C 7%, calcium 8%, iron 24%

Alexandria Castle Chili

Alexandria Castle Kitchen“Whew! I’m gonna cry!”

—Onionmeister, FFIX

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (chuck), 85% lean
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 25-oz. jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 15-oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup Chianti or Sangiovese wine
  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Finely diced white onion
  • Oyster crackers

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the ground beef, use a spatula to break into bite-sized pieces, and sprinkle with chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, paprika, cumin, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, beans, and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8–10 minutes. Drain and divide between six bowls. Top with chili, cheese, and onions. Serve hot, with oyster crackers on the side.

Makes 6 servings; each serving is about 7 ounces of cooked spaghetti plus 1 heaping cup of chili. Per serving (includes spaghetti; does not include cheese, onion, or crackers): 843 calories, 32.1 g. fat, 10.1 g. saturated fat, 1.1 g. poly. fat, 13.2 g. mono. fat, 92.9 mg. cholesterol, 1185.3 mg. sodium, 468.9 mg. potassium, 88.9 g. carbohydrates, 10.9 g. fiber, 45.4 g. protein, vitamin A 5%, vitamin C 20%, calcium 15%, iron 32%

White Mage Chicken Chili

Eiko's kitchen in Madain Sari“Good food not only delicious! Good food made with heart! This very important when cooking for friends!”

—Quina Quen, FFIX

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled and halved
  • 16 oz. chicken sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 lbs. plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz. cooked, shredded home-smoked chicken or storebought rotisserie chicken
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated white cheddar cheese (optional)

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for about 20 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the onions are browning too quickly. Add garlic and cook, uncovered, for about 15 more minutes.

Add sausage and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add spices. Stir in the jalapeno peppers and cook for about 2 minutes before slowly pouring in the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits. Stir in the beans and increase heat. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Stir in chicken and cook, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and lime juice and serve with cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top, if desired.

Makes about 8 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving (does not include cheese): 457 calories, 16.6 g. fat, 5.2 g. saturated fat, 1 g. poly. fat, 4 g. mono. fat, 92.9 mg. cholesterol, 1435.8 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 477.1 mg. potassium, 38 g. carbohydrates, 13.9 g. fiber, 36.5 g. protein, vitamin A 11%, vitamin C 26%, calcium 15%, iron 25%

Black Mage Bean Soup

Black Mage Village“Ah, my coffee smells delicious!”

–Morrid, FFIX

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 2 jalapeno chile peppers, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon ground coriander
  • 4 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups brewed coffee (1 grande coffee from Starbucks)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 oz. cooked, chopped chicken
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Juice of 1 orange

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, jalapeno peppers, chili powder, salt, cumin, and coriander, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the garlic is turning golden.

Stir in beans, coffee, broth, and molasses, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the cinnamon stick, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cinnamon stick. Stir in chicken, cilantro, and orange juice.

Makes about 8 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving: 336 calories, 8.4 g. fat, 2.8 g. saturated fat, 0.8 g. poly. fat, 3.8 g. mono. fat, 43.3 mg. cholesterol, 2130.2 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 247.4 mg. potassium, 40.4 g. carbohydrates, 7.1 g. fiber, 26.1 g. protein, vitamin A 4%, vitamin C 9%, calcium 18%, iron 23%

Year-End Recipe Roundup, Plus a Contest!

Quina QuenI experiment with plenty of Final Fantasy recipes, but I only post the ones that I really love.  That said, looking back over 2010, I definitely have some favorites.


Cid’s Spicy Chili

This was the first recipe I posted here, and there’s a reason.  I kept re-writing the recipe, re-making and passing it off for friends to try, through several winters.  I started with dried beans, played around with that concept, and ultimately decided that canned beans were a better choice.  When I finally had a keeper, I was thrilled!  This is, in my opinion, the perfect chili recipe.  (I know Texans will disagree.)


Irvine’s Cowboy Breakfast

I make this all the time.  It’s healthy, but also deliciously cheesy — a great Sunday breakfast.  To vary it up, use a can of pinto beans instead of refried beans, adding them in the beginning along with the butter and allowing some of the liquid to cook off before pouring in the eggs.


Coq Au Madhu

Bhujerba obviously has roots in colonial India, and I used that as the inspiration for this revamp of a classic French recipe.  Another variation is Bodhum-Style Coq Au Vin, which is inspired by California cuisine instead — the two recipes are as different as night and day.


Mobliz Dried Meat

This recipe is time-consuming, but the results are oh-so-worthwhile.  I’ve served these ribs at several summer parties, and they’re always a huge hit.


Zanarkand Lamb Pilaf

FFX’s city of Zanarkand was modeled after the Uzbek city of Samarkand.  This recipe is a take on a traditional Uzbek recipe.  The lamb and apricots melt into the rice to create a deliciously creamy pudding.


Madain Sari Stew

In FFIX’s Madain Sari cooking scene, Eiko sings, “Potato, potato, pumpkin bomb, lots and lots of nuts,” while she’s making her stew.  I used that as a starting point for this recipe, which might sound weird but is surprisingly (and exceptionally!) tasty.


White Mage Chicken Soup

This is my go-to recipe when I’m under the weather.  It’s full of ingredients that heal and promote wellness.  It’s also fairly quick and easy, which is useful when you aren’t feeling strong enough to cook more complicated food.


Nabradian Garlic Chicken

I keep making this over and over.  Based on a French recipe, it’s incredibly rich and flavorful.  The mushrooms reference the flora of shady Salikawood.  When paired with good wine and good bread, it’s a feast worth serving to friends.


Costa Del Sol Beach Burgers

I’m a San Diego native, and a lot of my recipes are local in flavor.  I tend to think of Costa del Sol as a stand-in for my region.  Of all my Costa del Sol recipes, this is my favorite.  Whether you use a grill, or opt for a faster version on the stove, these burgers always come out better than anything you could order from a beachside drive-thru.


The one-year anniversary of this blog is coming up soon.  I’d like to challenge my readers to create your own Final Fantasy recipes!  Send them to me at ffrecipes@gmail.com.  The contest ends February 15, 2011.  I’ll pick my favorite and publish the winner on March 1st.

Happy cooking!