Seasoned Midgardsormr

Seasoned Midgardsormr“You can never have too many spices.”

—Ignis Scientia, FFXV

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

  • ½ tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • ½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • 7 ounces plain Greek yogurt, such as Fage
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1½” cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Cooked basmati rice

Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seed, mustard seed, and cloves in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind the toasted spices in a clean coffee or spice mill and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, and cayenne.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a food processor or blender and add garlic, ginger, and the bowl of spices. Blend until smooth.

In the bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and ¼ cup of the tomato mixture. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade and seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 4 to 8 hours. Transfer the tomato mixture to a storage container and refrigerate.

Thread chicken tightly onto skewers. Heat the tomato mixture in a saucepan over medium heat. When it’s bubbling, stir in cream and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes.

Grill over medium-high direct heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until well browned on all sides. Transfer skewers to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

In the center of each plate, place a large serving of sauce. Arrange skewers on top and garnish to taste with sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.

Rikku’s Mix

Rikku's Mix Overdrive“A little bit of this, a little bit of that…”

—Rikku, FFX-2

Do you have half-empty bags of egg noodles, brown rice, and elbow macaroni in your cupboard that never seem to get used up? Frozen hashbrowns that are heading towards freezer burn? Random cans of salmon, sardines, or tuna that just get pushed to the back? Use this recipe as a blueprint for fusing your stockable items to create something more delicious. You can include any cheeses you like, but if you’re having trouble deciding, a high-quality white cheddar is especially good. Grate it yourself instead of buying the pre-shredded kind, which is coated with additives to prevent clumping.

  • 12 ounces of dried pasta or rice, or 20 ounces frozen cooked potatoes, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly crosswise
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved, thickly sliced, and rinsed well
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2½ cups (20 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1¼ cup (10 ounces) half-and-half
  • 6 ounces cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Crystal)
  • 2 6-ounce cans of fish (such as salmon, tuna, or sardines), drained
  • 8 oz. frozen peas or other vegetables (about 1½ cups), thawed
  • 2 ounces panko, crushed potato  chips, or parsnip chips
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
  • A dash of smoked paprika
  • 1 lemon, washed well
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh chives

Prepare the pasta  or rice according to package directions but slightly undercooking it by a few minutes.

In a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally and seasoning with salt and pepper, until soft and golden, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slowly pour in wine and continue cooking, scraping the bottom of the pan, until pan is almost dry, about 2 minutes.

Add flour and stir until onion and leeks are coated. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and stir in half-and-half. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is bubbling. Stir in cheese and hot sauce, then add fish and peas. Break the fish up with a spatula, add pasta, and stir until combined.

Turn off heat and sprinkle evenly with panko or chips, Parmesan cheese, and paprika. Bake uncovered until bubbly around the edges, about 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes, then zest one-quarter of the lemon over the top. Use scissors to trim fresh dill and chives over the top. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

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.

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%

Cosmo Canyon Chicken and Rice

Cosmo Candle“Bonfires are funny, aren’t they? They make you remember all sorts of things.”

—Tifa Lockhart, FFVII

For the chicken:

  • ¼ cup lime juice (about 1 or 2 limes)
  • ¼ cup organic tamari soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon hot chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 4 skinless, boneless organic free-range chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup white wine

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10½ oz. long-grain brown rice, jasmine or basmati (about 1½ cups)
  • 8 oz. raw tomatoes, washed and chopped
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth

Mix together lime juice, soy sauce, cumin, coriander, chili powder, olive oil, honey, and garlic in a shallow baking pan, stirring thoroughly. Lay the chicken breasts in, breast-side up, then flip to breast-side down. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, turning the breasts over halfway through.

While the chicken is marinating, heat the butter and 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 tomatoes, carrot, onion, garlic, and salt. Stir and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes, until onions are translucent.

Slowly pour in broth, bringing to a simmer. Continue cooking until all the broth has been absorbed. Lower heat to very low and cover for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Turn the chicken breasts to breast-side down and pour the white wine over them. Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping the breasts after about 10 or 15 minutes. Check that the internal temperature has reached at least 160 degrees.

Arrange 4 plates. Put a half-cup scoop of rice on each plate and pat it down to make a nest for the chicken. (You’ll have rice left over; save it to serve at another meal with Ifrit’s Adobo-Achiote Chicken.) Place each breast on a plate and top with the pan juices. Serves 4.

Landisian Cider Stew

Basch fon Ronsenburg in the Barheim Passage“You have grown very thin, Basch.”

—Judge Gabranth, born Noah fon Ronsenburg, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, chopped and rinsed (about 2 cups)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 2 hot Italian sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces (about 7 oz. total)
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. uncooked Arborio rice
  • 22 oz. bottle of hard cider, such as Julian Hard Cider
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 10 oz. kale
  • 12 oz. peeled, chopped butternut squash

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks, mushrooms, and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes until sausage is browned on all sides.

Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Pour in rice, and stir well to combine. Add cider and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in kale and squash and simmer, uncovered, about 2 hours, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and lowering the heat as necessary, until squash is tender.

Makes about 18 flat 1-cup servings. Per serving: 230 calories, 6.7 g. fat, 2.1 g. saturated fat, 0.5 g. poly. fat, 1.8 g. mono. fat, 32.1 mg. cholesterol, 588.2 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 291.2 mg. potassium, 29.3 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 13.1 g. protein, vitamin A 35%, vitamin C 33%, calcium 6%, iron 8%

Besaid Smoked Duck

Besaid“Besaid Village.”

“They got any food there?”

–Wakka and Tidus, FFX

For the paste:

  • 6 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled and chopped
  • 6 red Thai chiles, chopped
  • 6 macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 8″ fresh lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed and center chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric (about 1 square inch)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup peanut oil

For the duck:

  • 10 oz. chopped kale
  • 1 whole duck, about 4 lbs.
  • Steamed white rice (optional)

Combine the paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined. In a large bowl, mix half the paste with the kale. Set aside.

Prepare a grill for indirect medium heat (about 300 degrees), with a pan of water under the area where the duck will be cooking.

Wash the duck inside and out with cold water and drain, cavity side down, for 2 minutes. Trim off excess skin. Pat dry with paper towels and place breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan.

Using a sharp knife, cut a criss-cross pattern over the breast, being careful to cut through most of the fat without cutting into the meat. Prick all over the rest of the skin with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut all the way through to the meat. Rub duck with the remaining paste.

Stuff as much kale into the duck as possible and truss the legs. Refrigerate the remaining kale.

Move roasting pan to the grill, and cook, covered, for about 1 hour. Prick all over with a knife, turn to breast-side down, cover, and cook for 1 hour. Prick all over, turn to breast-side up, cover, and cook for 1 hour.

You should now be at a total of about 3 hours cook time. Check the internal temperature of the duck. Continue cooking until it reaches 165 degrees.

Increase the grill temperature to 400 degrees (or transfer to pre-heated 400 degree oven) and continue cooking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the skin is golden-brown and crispy.

Remove the duck from the grill, transfer to a carving board, and let rest, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the remaining kale from the refrigerator and sauté in a large saucepan, covered, for about 10 minutes, until tender.

Remove the kale stuffing from inside the duck and discard. Pour off the liquid from the roasting pan into a large measuring cup and refrigerate. (You can use the duck fat later to make french fries and other delicious things!)

Carve the duck and transfer to a serving platter. Serve with the sautéed kale and steamed rice.

Serves 2 people.