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.

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Mideel-Style Coq Au Vin

Mideel“You’ll have to be patient and wait this out. These things take time. Just like fine wine, time is of the essence.”

—the doctor in Mideel, FFVII

This recipe calls for half a can of light coconut milk. Use the other half of the can to make Mideel-Style Gysahl Greens. (But make sure to transfer the leftover coconut milk to a different container and refrigerate it if you aren’t going to use it right away; it’s not a good idea to refrigerate leftovers in the can.)

If you don’t usually buy rosé wine, I recommend Green Fin’s grenache rosé blend. You can find it for under $10 at Trader Joe’s.

  • 6 oz. raw bacon (about 4 slices), cut into ½” strips
  • 8 oz. carrots, scrubbed and sliced diagonally into 1”-thick pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 15 garlic cloves (about 1½ bulbs), peeled and halved, divided into two piles of 10 cloves and 5 cloves
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise (about 2½ cups)
  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup rosé wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1½ cups brown jasmine rice, uncooked (about 10½ oz.)
  • Half a can of light coconut milk (about 1 cup)
  • ¾ oz. flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

Heat a Dutch oven or large deep-bottomed skillet 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 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden-brown and tender.

Add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Slowly pour in wine, scraping up the crispy bits and increasing heat as needed, and bring to a boil.  Add bay leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 35–40 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes before dividing into 6 bowls.

Uncover coq au vin and cook for 15 or so minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.  Discard thyme and bay leaves and pour in coconut milk. Continue to simmer, uncovered, about 15 more minutes.

Remove from heat. Using a garlic press, add the remaining 5 cloves of garlic to the pot along with the parsley and stir well. Divide the chicken, vegetables, and wine sauce between the 6 bowls.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving (includes rice): 491 calories, 11.8 g. fat, 4.3 g. saturated fat, 0.8 g. poly. fat, 1 g. mono. fat, 80.3 mg. cholesterol, 656.4 mg. sodium, 898.6 mg. potassium, 59.5 g. carbohydrates, 9.9 g. fiber, 38.4 g. protein, vitamin A 160%, vitamin C 142%, calcium 27%, iron 19%

Ultros Seafood Soup

Ultros“Delicious morsel… Let me get my bib!”

—Ultros, FFVI

  • 1 16-oz. bag of frozen mixed seafood (shrimp, scallops, and calamari rings)
  • 8 oz. dried rice stick noodles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled and halved
  • 2-4 Thai red chiles, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 14-oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz. can of light coconut milk
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, halved
  • 1 cup chopped Thai basil
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)

Remove the seafood from the freezer to thaw. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Stir in noodles and remove from heat. Let stand until noodles soften, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and chiles, and sauté until soft, 3 to 5 minutes, lowering heat as needed to prevent browning too quickly.

Pour in broth, tomatoes, coconut milk, vinegar, and fish sauce. Stir in ginger. Bring to a boil and drop in the stalks of lemongrass. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove lemongrass stalks. Add seafood and cook for about 5 minutes, until shrimp are pink and heated through. Stir in basil, cilantro, and lime juice. Remove from heat.

Divide the noodles into 6 bowls and top with the seafood soup.

Per serving: 286 calories, 5.3 g. fat, 0.4 g. saturated fat, 2.1 g. poly. fat, 1.9 g. mono. fat, 87.1 mg. cholesterol, 1255.7 mg. sodium, 35.8 mg. potassium, 42.8 g. carbohydrates, 1.8 g. fiber, 16.1 g. protein, vitamin A 9%, vitamin C 34%, calcium 6%, iron 10%

Kilika Green Curry Shrimp

Yuna in Kilika“Those warrior monks ate everything in sight, then returned to Bevelle. They basically just ate and ran. What do they take us for? We’ll bill the temple for all the food they took.”

—Kulukan, FFX

  • 2 cups brown jasmine rice, uncooked (about 12½ oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 Asian eggplants, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 14-oz. can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 lbs. peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 8 oz. frozen peas (about 2 cups), thawed
  • 1 cup chopped basil

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 35-40 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove lid and divide into 8 bowls.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and sauté, about 5 minutes.  Stir in curry paste and fish sauce and continue to cook, about 1 minute.

Pour in coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, about 5 minutes.

Stir in peas and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Pour over rice. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 364 calories, 7.3 g. fat, 2.4 g. saturated fat, 1.5 g. poly. fat, 1 g. mono. fat, 142.8 mg. cholesterol, 1036.9 mg. sodium, 168.9 mg. potassium, 49 g. carbohydrates, 5.2 g. fiber, 25.9 g. protein, vitamin A 10%, vitamin C 22%, calcium 5%, iron 22%

Mideel-Style Gysahl Greens

Mideel after its destruction“The light of hope can be found anywhere.”

—the doctor in Mideel, FFVII

  • 6 oz. raw bacon (about 4 slices), cut into ½” strips
  • 1 large serrano chile pepper or 2 small ones, diced
  • 2 lbs. greens, cleaned and chopped (beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, or spinach are all good choices)
  • Half a can of light coconut milk (about 1 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Cooked basmati rice, or other whole grain (optional)

Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to crisp and render its fat.  Stir in chile peppers and continue to cook, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium, add half the greens, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add the other half of the greens and repeat.  Once all the greens are combined with the bacon and chile peppers, slowly pour in the coconut milk while scraping up the crispy bits.  Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice.

Serve over rice if desired; the greens are also delicious on their own. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving (not including rice): 105 calories, 5.6 g. fat, 2.6 g. saturated fat, 0.1 g. poly. fat, 0.1 g. mono. fat, 12.2 mg. cholesterol, 378.5 mg. sodium, 368.6 mg. potassium, 8.9 g. carbohydrates, 3.7 g. fiber, 7.2 g. protein, vitamin A 89%, vitamin C 98%, calcium 17%, iron 8%