Festival of the Hunt Roast

ZaghnolBreeder: “This year’s specimen is perfect. Nothing can stop him! Ha ha ha! What power!”

Soldier: “Hey, make him stop! It’s too early to let him loose!”

Breeder: “How? I have no control over him.”

Soldier: “Dammit! Open the gate at once! The gate’s gonna fall apart!”

Breeder: “GO, ZAGHNOL!”

—FFIX

This recipe takes all day (and sometimes into the night), so plan ahead and get all your tools and ingredients together the day before. A good-quality digital thermometer is an absolute necessity, and make sure you have enough wood to keep the fire going for 12 hours! If you don’t have access to a grill, you can also cook the pork in the oven, but you’ll lose that special flavor that comes from the wood smoke.

  • 1 Boston butt (bone-in pork shoulder roast, 4 to 6 pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Barbecue sauce (Mandragora Jam works well)
  • 10 to 12 hamburger buns

Begin 12 to 24 hours before you plan to start cooking. Trim most of the fat, but not all, leaving about 1/8″. Pork butt often comes tied with butcher’s twine to keep them from falling apart. If yours is not already tied, tie it with twine. Wash and thoroughly dry the meat, then salt it and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare a grill or smoker for indirect heat. Place cumin seed, fennel seed, mustard seed, and coriander in a grinder and grind fine. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in chili powder, onion powder, and paprika. Wet the meat all over with water and cover with the rub.

Place the meat fat-side down on the grill and cook at 225 degrees for about 10–12 hours, checking once per hour to make sure fuel is sufficient and smoker temperature is under 250 degrees. For the first couple of hours, you can also add a handful of hickory or cherry wood chips every half-hour or so, if desired.

The meat is done when temperature at the very center reaches at least 195 degrees. Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board, loosely tent it with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Wearing heavy-duty rubber gloves if desired, pull off and discard any skin from the meat, then pull the pork into pieces, discarding any bones or fat. Using your fingertips or a fork, pull each piece of pork into shreds 1 to 2 inches long and 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.

Serve on hamburger buns with barbecue sauce on the side for topping. Fried in a little fat, leftovers make great carnitas tacos the next day.

Festival of the Hunt Stew

Festival of the Hunt in Lindblum“I heard there are traditional Festival of the Hunt dishes. Do you know where they serve them?”

—FFIX

  • 1½ lbs. beef stew meat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, cut into ½” strips
  • 12 oz. smoked kielbasa, sliced into ¼”-thick rounds
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 oz. dried pitted prunes, chopped
  • 8 oz. fresh Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 lbs. drained raw sauerkraut (2 18-oz. jars)
  • 1 sourdough baguette or cooked egg noodles

Cut the stew meat into bite-sized pieces, about 1” square. Dredge the meat in flour. (The easiest way is to put the meat and flour in a plastic bag and shake until all pieces are fully coated.) Set aside.

Heat a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in kielbasa, onion, and mushrooms, and continue cooking until browned, about 20 more minutes. Add the stew meat in a single layer and sprinkle with caraway seeds and allspice. Brown on all sides, about 20 more minutes.

Stir in prunes, tomatoes, and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Slowly pour in wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go. Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add bay leaves and peppercorns, and cover. Simmer for about 2 hours, until beef is very tender.

Remove from heat and stir in honey and sauerkraut. Set aside and grill or toast slices of sourdough bread, if using. Divide stew into bowls and serve with the grilled bread or over noodles.

Makes 7 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (not including bread or noodles): 398 calories, 14.4 g. fat, 4.6 g. saturated fat, 0.1 g. poly. fat, 103.3 mg. cholesterol, 1790 mg. sodium, 403.4 mg. potassium, 31.6 g. carbohydrates, 2.2 g. fiber, 37.1 g. protein, vitamin A 5%, vitamin C 60%, calcium 3%, iron 18%

Oglop-Oiled Popped Corn

Zidane in a Dali cornfield“Oglops eat vegetables?”

Princess Garnet, FFIX

You don’t have to eat microwave popcorn! Making it on the stove is easy. If you’re the kind of person who likes to cook bacon for lazy Sunday breakfasts, save the bacon fat in a ramekin in the fridge and use it for this recipe — the flavor is amazing.

If you prefer a vegetarian version, coconut oil is an excellent alternative. Oglop oil, of course, can be easily obtained in Dali’s cornfields as well as Milla’s Oil Shop in Lindblum.

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oglop oil, bacon fat, or coconut oil (about 14 g.)
  • 6 tablespoons of popcorn kernels (about 72 g.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (about 14 g.)
  • Italian seasoning, crushed
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the salt and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a few popcorn kernels and cover the pan. When they pop, add the rest of the kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat, and count 30 seconds.

Return pan to heat. The kernels should begin popping soon, all at once. Once they begin popping, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Keep the lid slightly vented to let the steam escape.

When the popping slows to 1 or 2 seconds between pops, remove the pan from heat and dump the popcorn immediately into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices and cheese to taste. Serves 2.

South Gate Bundt Cake

South Gate mapCinna: “I missed my ride! What am I gonna do now?!”

Marcus: “How the heck should I know…? You were the one who wanted to watch the scenery while eating South Gate Bundt Cake.”

Cinna: “I’m gonna be late returning to Lindblum…”

Marcus: “There’s nothing we can do. I won’t tell the boss.”

Cinna: “Thanks, buddy! Let’s eat another bundt cake!”

—FFIX

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 8 lemons (about ½ cup)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ¾ cup apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour Bundt pan and set aside. Whisk baking powder, salt, and 3 cups flour in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub together until well blended. Add 1 cup butter and mix with an electric blender on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating and occasionally scraping down side and bottom with a rubber spatula, until mixture is light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes more.

Reduce speed to low. Add about one-third of the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk, another one-third of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk, and the rest of the flour mixture. Use the spatula to transfer the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top.

Bake until golden brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, remove pan, and let cool completely.

Combine preserves and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Pour over cooled cake at let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 492 calories, 17.1 g. fat, 10.1 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 4.6 g. mono. fat, 110.4 mg. cholesterol, 545.6 mg. sodium, 102.2 mg. potassium, 80.4 g. carbohydrates, 0.9 g. fiber, 6.3 g. protein, vitamin A 21%, vitamin C 3%, calcium 5%, iron 10%

Doom Pub Dark Stew

The Doom Pub in Lindblum“Hey, Zidane. Good timing. I just came up with a new dish that I want you to try.”

—Bobo, FFIX

  • 1½ lbs. beef stew meat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, scrubbed and sliced diagonally into 1” pieces (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled and halved
  • 12 oz. shallots, peeled and halved
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • ¾ oz. flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 crusty French baguette (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the stew meat into bite-sized pieces, about 1” square. Dredge the meat in flour. (The easiest way is to put the meat and flour in a plastic bag and shake until all pieces are fully coated.)

Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the stew meat in a single layer and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add onion, carrots, garlic, shallots, and mushrooms. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, reducing heat if the onions are browning too quickly, until onions are soft and translucent. Slowly pour in 1 bottle of red wine, scraping the crusty bits from the bottom and maintaining a simmer. Bring to a boil, stir well, add bay leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and remove from heat.

If you’re using a Dutch oven, cover and transfer to the oven. If you’re using a skillet that isn’t oven-safe, transfer the stew into a roasting pan, cover tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Cook for about 1½ hours, until the meat is soft and tender and the liquid is reduced.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving (does not include baguette): 366 calories, 17.1 g. fat, 6.3 g. saturated fat, 1 g. poly. fat, 7.9 g. mono. fat, 84.3 mg. cholesterol, 356.5 mg. sodium, 812 mg. potassium, 24.9 g. carbohydrates, 2.3 g. fiber, 28.5 g. protein, vitamin A 48%, vitamin C 16%, calcium 7%, iron 22%

Red Mage Chicken Soup

A red mage in Alexandria's Morning Star Bar“I was thinking of buying some oglop oil, but it’s so disgusting.”

—a red mage in Lindblum, FFIX

This is a quick meal if you use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the market. Save the leftover bones for stock.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or oglop oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced (about 2½ cups)
  • 3 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 4 serrano chile peppers, minced
  • 1 jalapeno chile pepper, minced
  • 1 14-oz. can of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15-oz. can of black beans, undrained
  • 1 15-oz. can of corn kernels, undrained
  • 8 oz. cooked, chopped chicken
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime

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 and chile peppers. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and spices and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour in chicken broth, beans, and corn. Stir in chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in spinach, cilantro, and lime juice.

Makes about 10 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving: 170 calories, 4.2 g. fat, 0.6 g. saturated fat, 0.5 g. poly. fat, 2.3 g. mono. fat, 18.9 mg. cholesterol, 439.6 mg. sodium, 283.7 mg. potassium, 19.5 g. carbohydrates, 4.1 g. fiber, 13.3 g. protein, vitamin A 37%, vitamin C 23%, calcium 8%, iron 12%

Gysahl Pickles

Adelbert Steiner (and Princess Garnet) at South GateTall Guard: “Oh, it’s your least favorite food… the Lindblum delicacy, gysahl pickles. I can’t believe how many you brought with you!”

Steiner: “They are my favorite! I cannot start the day without them.”

Tall Guard: “Yeah, sure. People who like ’em all say that.”

—FFIX

This recipe calls for half of a sweet yellow onion; use the other half for Nalbina Black Beans.

  • ¾ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. Persian cucumbers
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic bulb (about 8-12 cloves), peeled
  • 1-quart jar, with a tight-fitting lid

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, dill seed, and peppercorns. Add bay leaf and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

Wash cucumbers, trim the ends, and quarter lengthwise. Place them in the jar with the onion and garlic. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar and add enough water to cover the vegetables. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving. The pickles will last up to 1 week.