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%

Mandragora Jam

Mandragora, FFIX“A vexing Representative of the Deadly Nightshade Family has been sighted nearby Rabanastre!”

—bestiary entry, FFXII

I initially wanted to write this as a vegetarian recipe, but the addition of bacon makes it such a good partner for meat-based dishes like burgers that I couldn’t resist. However, it’s just as good if you leave the bacon out. You can substitute a tablespoon of olive oil instead.

If you decide to include the bacon, save the leftover grease and use it to make Oglop-Oiled Popped Corn.

  • 6 oz. smoked bacon, uncooked (about 4 slices)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, washed well, stems removed, and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, minced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablepoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Arrange the bacon on a baking sheet and place in an unheated oven. Turn the heat to 425 and cook until crisp, about 20–25 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to cool.

Heat a Dutch oven or large deep-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the bacon grease from the baking sheet into a sturdy container. Remove 1 tablespoon and add to the skillet. Save the rest in the fridge for later use (optional).

Add the chopped shallots to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes, chile pepper, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, salt, ras el hanout, and few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and crumble in the bacon.

Simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered, until the consistency is as thick as you like it. (The jam will thicken more in the fridge.) Remove from heat and let the jam cool, then pour into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 4 months. It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20 ounces of jam. Per 2-tablespoon serving: 78 calories, 4 g. fat, 7 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. protein, iron 2%

Blue Mage Muffins

Instructor Trepe“Uses a whip. When in danger, uses monster skills she has learned. Her admirers in the Garden have formed a fan club.”

—Scan description of Quistis Trepe, FFVIII

  • 3 cups flour (360 g.)
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 12-oz. can of frozen 100% orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 12-oz. bag of frozen organic blueberries (about 2½ cups)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pans with 24 unbleached baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oat bran, baking soda, and spice. Pour in the thawed orange juice concentrate, the blueberries, and 1 cup of water. Mix just enough to moisten all ingredients.

Divide the batter among the 24 cups and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan and place on a rack to cool.

Makes 24 muffins. Per muffin: 100 calories, 0.4 g. fat, 0.1 g. saturated fat, 0.2 g. poly. fat, 0.1 g. mono. fat, 0.48 mg. sodium, 154.7 mg. potassium, 22.7 g. carbohydrates, 1.4 g. fiber, 2.9 g. protein, vitamin C 29%, calcium 1%, iron 6%

Ovenmeister’s Potatoes

Alexandrian chef“A good shake o’ salt ♪ Potato, potato ♪ “

—Eiko Carol, FFIX

This is one of those very simple recipes, like Tifa’s Premium Heart, where you might say, “Everyone knows how to do that.” But when I was growing up, we cooked potatoes in the microwave — I didn’t learn how to prepare a proper restaurant-style baked potato until I was an adult. The extra baking time is worth it!

  • Russet potatoes, up to 4
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Snipped chives
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch drippings.

While the oven is heating, scrub potatoes and pat dry. Poke each potato deeply with a fork about 5 or 6 times. Coat lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place the potatoes directly on the top rack of the oven. Bake about 1 hour, until skin is crispy and flesh underneath is soft. Remove from oven and use the fork to create a dotted line down the length of the potato. Press the ends of the potato towards each other until the line cracks open. Be careful, the steam will be very hot!

Place each potato in a bowl and serve with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, chives, and black pepper for topping.

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%

Treno Corn Pudding

Treno slums“Power to the people! We’ll never go hungry once we become nobles!”

—girl in the Treno slums, FFIX

  • 2½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (70 g.) dry white corn grits
  • ¼ cup (1 oz.) grated sharp cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon half & half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g.) olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (a blend of dried basil, oregano, and other spices)

Bring water and salt to a boil in a large deep pan over high heat. Slowly stir in grits and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently and reducing heat as needed to prevent sticking, until mixture is thick and bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, half & half, and butter until melted. Divide between two bowls. Drizzle each bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon crushed Italian seasoning.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 278 calories, 17 g. fat, 28 g. carbohydrates, 2 g. fiber, 6 g. protein, iron 2%

Echo Herb Stuffing

Locke Cole in Thamasa“An herbal medicine used with minimal preparation. The leaves are ground up and swallowed to cure throat ailments.”

—description in Bravely Default

A natural companion to Echo Herb Chicken, this dish is also an excellent accompaniment to Roast Cockatrice. Use any leftovers to make Cockatrice Pie.

  • 1 pound sourdough bread
  • 1 pound hot Italian pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

The day before you want to serve the stuffing, cut the bread into ½-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out on a baking sheet and leave them uncovered on the counter or in the oven to dry overnight.

Remove the casings from the sausage and chop into ½-inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven and add sausage, onion, carrots, celery, and sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl and add the sausage mixture from the skillet. Toss with parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Add broth and toss until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the eggs.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9×13″ ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the stuffing in the dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned and crisp, another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.