BOTW 5: Prime Poultry Curry

Whew boy, it’s been a while! I didn’t mean to…take off several months there. My bad. Anyway, one of my favorite dishes to make is a large pot of curry. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and most importantly, it makes a ton of leftovers. How could I not make it?

(Not pictured: diced onion, various seasonings, carrots b/w peas).

The Dish: Prime Poultry Curry

The secret to this curry’s flavor is taking it off the heat while you add the spices. Required ingredients are Raw Bird Thigh, Hylian Rice, and Goron Spice.

The Research: Alrighty, let’s go in-game and take a look at the recipe. Looks like Link makes a bog-standard curry here, with what looks like yellow rice and…is that parsley? Seaweed? Grass trimmings?

Enhance!

Whatever it is, Link added a mostly decorative garnish to a thing he’s about to mix anyway. Well, let’s get to it.

The Method: Start by dicing up about a pound of chicken thighs, and follow this up by dicing a couple of decently-sized Yukon Golds (not visible in the reference photo, but a curry without potato is like me writing this blog without making an obscure reference – a bigger mistake than when the Empire unleashed the Carronade upon Fou-Lu). Finally, finely chop some parsley for garnish. If you don’t get the pre-diced onion like I do, you’ll wanna dice about half a large onion. Once your mise is place-ed, it’s cooking time.

In a large pot, via a little bit of oil, sauté your diced chicken thighs, seasoning as you go. Once they’re cooked through, offload them into an empty bowl, saving that delicious rendered fat. Next, throw your diced onion into the fat, sautéing until soft, and once softness is achieved, crush in a couple cloves of garlic. Next, drop one of those packages of frozen peas and carrots in the pot, cooking just long enough to slightly thaw them.

Once barely thawed, put in your diced potatoes, cover with 3 cups water and 1 cup coconut milk, and stir in a generous squirt of honey and a pinch of MSG. It should look something like the below:

Appetizing!

Bring this concoction to a boil, then simmer. It’ll depend on how thick you cut your potatoes, but 15 minutes is a pretty good baseline. You want your potatoes fork-tender, at least. Once said tenderness has been achieved, add in your cooked chicken thighs and bring the whole mixture back to a boil – 5 minutes.

Now that your chicken has been thoroughly incorporated, you’re probably wondering when we’re going to get to the fireworks factory the Goron Spice. After all, it’s pretty much just curry powder, right? Well, that’s where these bad boys come in:

This is a file photo, I didn’t take this.

Curry roux pucks. You can make your own – numerous recipes exist – but I doubt the Hero of Time, or whatever this iteration is called, would bother with anything but the convenient version in a pinch.

Anyway, all that aside, turn off the heat, put in one puck for each cup of liquid (in this case, four), stir until incorporated, and serve immediately with your preferred rice (I went with yellow for accuracy).

With parsley, for added…parsley.

The Result: Aw man, you guys. I’ve made curry before, many times, actually, but I was blown away by this. I don’t know what it is – maybe the flavor profile – but that parsley made the…no, I can’t keep lying to you like this.

It’s curry. It’s delicious. The extra flavors in the yellow rice absolutely disappeared into the curry, as did – shocking nobody – the parsley. The beauty part about this recipe isn’t just its adaptability, but also the sheer number of leftovers it generates. I heartily recommend it.

Number 11: “Pheasant” Roast with Berry Sauce

Well, March was crazy, but I’m back. Let’s roast this bird.

The Dish: Pheasant Roast with Berry Sauce

Well-roasted Fodlan pheasant drizzled with a berry reduction sauce. Ingredients are Poultry and Albinean Berries.

The Research: What are “albinean berries”? This dogged me until I found that England was called Albion back in the day, and cranberries are apparently important over there. Cranberries it is!

Or rather, cranberries it isn’t, because “frozen cranberries” is yet another one of those things that seems like it should be ubiquitous but is nearly impossible to find. Apparently cranberries aren’t in season here! That’s kind of the point of freezing fruit – year-round access, but sure, whatever. I’ll settle for some dried cranberries that I’ll rehydrate.

Looking at the in-game dish, it’s clearly a roasted bone-in chicken thigh atop a pool of what’s apparently the berry reduction (as an aside, I’m not a fan of the “sauce under the meat” presentation so I won’t be doing this), alongside some carrots, squash, and broccoli. Alright then! I’ll be making this cranberry sauce as a topper, and I’ll be steaming the veggies in the microwave – if it’s good enough for Kenji it’s good enough for me.

The Method: As you may have surmised, I’m roasting the chicken. But beforehand, it needs some flavor – so I’m making my usual chicken seasoning blend: kosher salt, black pepper, a pinch of MSG, and generous sprinklings of sage and thyme. When mixed with olive oil, it forms the rub that’ll make the best chicken you’ll ever have.

While it chills in the fridge to let the flavors mingle, I chop all the associated veggies, as well as a couple of shallots. I know the sauce calls for onions, but I prefer shallots for my pan sauces. Once that’s all done, and the cranberries are rehydrated, the chicken goes into a 400-degree oven with a thermometer inside to check for doneness. So I can get started on my pan sauce!

It only dawns on me a few minutes in that I’m not actually making a cranberry pan sauce, but rather, this recipe is for a savory version of cranberry sauce, that Thanksgiving standby. Okay then! Time to make lemonade out of…uh, cranberries. The sauce goes into a container to get puréed by my immersion blender. Once nice and smooth, it’s back in the pan to be thinned out by more port and balsamic vinegar. I throw in a pat of butter for added silky smoothness, and salt and pepper for the flavor. It’s actually pretty good! Crisis averted.

In the fullness of time, the chicken is ready. After a brief stint in the microwave, the veggies are ready as well. Plating time!

The Result: This one blew me away. The sauce was really good with the chicken, and the seasoning blend was perfect. But the real star here was the vegetables, which were perfectly steamed in the microwave, something I never would’ve considered if roasting were an option. I’ll definitely be trying that again.

BOTW 4: Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

Okay, so two weeks ago I created an affront to God and man, and last week I didn’t so much enjoy my efforts. It’s time to fix that, and it’s time to get back in the winners’ circle. So we’re keeping it basic. Meat. Rice. What could be any better?

The Dish: Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

This bowl is loaded with high-quality meat. Your hunt for a serious meal ends here. Ingredients are Raw Prime Meat, Hylian Rice, and Rock Salt.

The Research: Since this is Breath of the Wild, all of the research was predicated on looking at the dish and seeing what extras Link tacked on. And this one is wacky. In addition to some sesame seeds and some haphazardly-strewn-about full rosemary leaves (indicating Link doesn’t really get the idea of herbs for flavor), there’s a flower in there for…plating, I guess.

Imagine for a moment that you’re Princess Zelda. As far as you know, Calamity Ganon is about to break contain any second now. The world may be literal minutes from destruction. Meanwhile, this dingus is taking his sweet time plating up his dishes like he’s a dang Iron Chef. He’s not trying to unseal any of the heroic spirits or rushing to save you, he’s just playing with his food. It’s the sort of stuff like this that cracks me up. Anyway, with our research done, it’s time to get cracking.

The Method: This dish starts, like so many others, by generously rubbing the meat with salt and pepper (weirdly, despite the fact that Hyrule clearly has salt, they don’t have a version of black pepper) and letting it chill in the fridge. While it’s there, we’ll dice up some carrots, celery and onion for a nice mirepoix. Also, we’ll pour some high-quality beef broth in a cup and mix in some tomato paste and red wine, setting it aside for now.

With that done, we’ll pour some olive oil into a stainless steel pan and get it ripping hot, then cook our beef strips in batches, setting them aside once done. If you’re using a rice cooker, now is about when you’d wanna start the rice. But we’re not done with that pan yet – Link’s rice clearly has some sort of sauce – so we’ll kill the heat, throw in a pat of butter and our mirepoix, and scrape up all of the brown goodness that ChefPK calls “good-good” and everyone else calls “fond”. Once completely loosened, we drop in our broth-paste-wine mixture, turn the heat back on, and reduce it down, adding cornstarch and seasonings as necessary.

Once the sauce is good and reduced, we’ll pour it into a heatproof bowl and employ our immersion blender to blend everything into a nice smooth consistency. Afterwards we pour the sauce back into the pan, then put the beef back in and let it hang out in there for a few minutes before plating and serving over rice.

I added the sesame seeds later.

The Result: This was delightful. The beef was perfectly cooked, and the sauce wonderfully enhanced the dish. The sesame seed flavor disappeared into the meat and the rosemary didn’t do much of anything, but all in all, this is a dish I’d gladly make again. Mission accomplished!

BOTW 3: Tough Meat-Stuffed “Pumpkin”

My track record recently has been pretty lousy, so it’s time to fix that with an easy one that’s mainly full of stuff I enjoy – stuffed squash!

The Dish: Tough Meat-Stuffed Pumpkin

Grants a defense boost. This hollow, meat-filled fortified pumpkin is a local specialty of Kakariko Village. Ingredients are Fortified Pumpkin and Raw Meat.

The Research: This one was pretty easy, all told. No exotic or clearly-fictional ingredients. I wasn’t able to find a non-blurry picture of the dish, so I just made it in-game to get a decent visual. Looks like Link somehow magics in some peas, carrots, and…either corn or pine nuts into his end result, and garnishes it with some basil…that, or he really likes to have no basil flavor followed by all of the basil flavor at once? Anyway, this one’s simple.

The Method: Again, simplicity is the watchword here. I cut my carnival squash (standing in for the pumpkin) in half, scooped out the innards, and roasted the halves for about 30 minutes.

During that time, I made the beef mixture. I achieved this by browning some ground beef, then throwing in some carrots, peas, and pine nuts. Thrilling! It didn’t really look game-accurate…

…but I would be somewhat disturbed if I came across ground beef that smooth, y’know? Anyway, the mixture was eventually ready, the squash was eventually roasted, and all there was left to do was fill and eat.

I also topped it with some chopped basil, but that woulda made for a boring photo.

The Result: Meh. I’m not a huge fan of carnival squash, as it turns out (my wife loved it, though). The beef mixture was really good, though – I saved some and made fried rice with it the next day. All in all, a passable and relatively easy meal.

Bonus 2: SBLOUNKSCHED! Bar from Homestar Runner

Ah, Homestar Runner. It’s given us so much and asked for so little. Well, it’s time to make a monstrosity from their history.

The Dish: SBLOUNSKCHED! Bar

“We’ll start with a gaseous cloud of marshmallow vapor…encased in a globule of semi-solid licorice colloid. A bunch of those will be floating in a channel of liquid nougat…we roll all that up inside a solid crispety cookety log…and cover it with rich, creamy…pepperoni. Then sprinkle that with, not just crispy puffed rice, but whole tiny bowls of crispy puffed rice cereal. And finally, smother that with…Boring Brown Chocolate.”

The Method: Yup, this one’s gonna be a nightmare. See, my original plan was to put marshmallow creme in the licorice (the closest I can think of to “gaseous marshmallow vapor”), but the licorice was solid, not hollow. After a quick trip to get some Twizzlers, I found that they were stiff and unworkable. So I microwaved them for a bit to soften them up…this flattened them. So I abandoned this plan, whizzed up some Twizzlers in a blender…

Looks like ground beef!

…and mixed them with marshmallow creme.

With that out of the way, it’s time to look at our pepperoni. Now, every recipe I’ve seen for this says “it’s good…except for the pepperoni”. I figure if I make the pepperoni sweeter somehow, that’ll improve it, or at least make it less of a liability. So I made this glaze and let the pepperoni soak in it. With the pepperoni out of the way, it’s time to make nougat. I made the filling from this recipe. Not much else to say.

Once the nougat is made, it’s time to assemble this monstrosity. I started with a bed of safe-to-eat-raw cookie dough, then slathered on a layer of the marshmallow/Twizzler mixture, followed by a layer of nougat. I then closed it and made my best attempt to form it into a bar.

With this done, I topped the thing with some shredded glazed pepperoni, some Rice Krispies cereal, and finally cloaked the whole thing in some melted semi-sweet chocolate, which, as the industry standard, is Boring Brown Chocolate in its truest form.

All that’s left is to let this abomination harden in the fridge. Now I already failed at making it into a bar – it looked more like some kind of dessert meatloaf – but maybe that’s where my failure ends.

The Result: Yeah, this was really bad. Really, really bad. The pepperoni overpowered everything else, even with my attempts to neutralize it, which arguably made it worse. Absent the pepperoni, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great (except the nougat, which I nailed on the first try, and was awesome). I’ll definitely be revisiting this in the future because I have a few ideas as to how to improve it, but for now, I definitely feel like I got SBLOUNKSCHED!

Number 10: Scrambled Eggs with Vegetables

It’s a new year, with new…promise, I guess. It can’t be any worse than the previous year, at least. Anyway, if your New Year’s resolution is to eat more veggies, this is for you.

The Dish: Scrambled Eggs with Vegetables

Fried eggs mixed with tomatoes, cabbage, and chickpeas along with other vegetables and legumes. A highly nutritious dish.

The Research: Yes, the flavor text says “fried eggs”. Probably a mistranslation. Anyway, this is another dish that was pretty easy to research. The beauty of this one is its adaptability. The “other vegetables and legumes” allows you to add whatever the hell you want, so go crazy. I chose to add spinach, mushrooms, and black beans.

The Method: This one is pretty easy. You start by mixing all your veg into a bowl, sautéing any spinach as necessary (I sautéed mine with lemon zest, which was wholly unnecessary). If you wanna gussy up any individual vegetables, that’s your call. Season your veggie mix with salt and pepper at the minimum. If there are any other spices that would go with whatever you choose to use, put those in there as well.

Anyway, once all your veggies are ready, heat some olive oil in a large pan and drop all your veggies in there. Next, crack in enough eggs to ensure even distribution, which will depend on your veggie mix. I used 6 large eggs, which was not enough. Cook your eggs until they’re all scrambled, then serve.

The Result: As I did it, I give this dish a B-. I didn’t use enough eggs and sautéing the spinach with lemon zest made for an odd flavor combination, but it was otherwise decent and pretty dang nutrient-rich. But the beauty of this dish comes from its adaptability. Throw in whatever you want! This is an excellent pantry-clearer. If you’ve got a bunch of canned vegetables that you weren’t going to otherwise use, make this! Top it however you want. Throw on some salsa, or some avocado. Top it with cheese. Hell, put some chicken in there, I won’t tell anyone.

BOTW 2: Monster Cake

After two straight stews, it’s time to finally get back to dessert. And this one…was really something.

There’s more to it than this, but I didn’t wanna crowd the shot.

The Dish: Monster Cake

It’s said once you have a taste of this cake, you’ll never forget its sweetness. Ingredients are Tabantha Wheat, Goat Butter, Cane Sugar and Monster Extract.

The Method: To make monster cake, we must first answer the question: what is monster extract? And I have a theory: it’s simple food dye. Now, I know that in the past I’ve been incredibly open about my laziness, so you may be wondering if this is more of the same, and…no, I’m fairly convinced it’s just food dye. My reasoning is threefold!

FIRST, I don’t see how else it fits in otherwise. If you look at the five monster recipes, you’ll notice a wide variety of flavors, from spicy (Monster Curry) to savory (Monster Stew), to sweet (this one). It’s highly unlikely that one ingredient would be the linchpin of all five of them. Plus, they all appear to include everything they need without the monster extract. For example, this cake! If I was gonna bake a cake, I’d say sugar, butter and flour were pretty necessary. Our cake was ready to go without the extract, so what does it add?

SECOND, we already make food dye in a similar way. Certain red dyes are made by grinding up cochineal beetles, so it’s feasible that monster extract – whose creation process aside from grinding up monsters is unclear – likely only just dyes your food.

And THIRD, it’s totally possible to fool people with a little food dye. Here’s a study where wine connoisseurs were fooled with some red food dye. It’s entirely possible that some enterprising Hylian chef used food dye to trick unsuspecting diners. “You eat with your eyes”, they say. If you handed someone purple cake and told them you had some sort of super-special awesome secret ingredient in there, they’d probably assume you were telling them the truth and rate it accordingly!

So with that settled, it’s time to make some cake! The Monster Cake itself looks like chocolate cake with purple frosting, so that’s what we’ll make. I don’t feel like making a full cake, so I’m gonna just whip up this cupcake recipe. I figure for each Monster Cake I’ll do a layering of two cupcakes with frosting. Gonna go ahead and slip you a spoiler warning: don’t do this.

Once the ingredients are combined and the cupcakes are in the oven, it’s frosting time! Now I am not much of a baker and I’ve never dealt with food dye before, and I’ve just gotta say: there’s probably some sort of method or device designed to easily work with food dye, and you should probably use it if so. That said, with judicious combination of red and blue food dye, I was eventually able to work up a decent-looking purple frosting:

The cupcakes finished in time, and we had some cake to ruin!

The Result: I’m gonna be straight here – I failed. The cupcakes tasted good, but they weren’t amenable to being layered at all. My Monster Cake looked like all Monster and no Cake. I didn’t even bother taking a picture because, let’s face it, the Internet has enough cake disasters by this point.

All that to say this: if you do make it, just whiz up a standard layer cake like the good lord intended. Use biscuit cutters from there to form your smaller pieces. My cake failed. But, if nothing else, I at least solved the mystery of Monster Extract.

BOTW 1: Gourmet Meat Stew

Hello! I know it’s been a while. And I know I said I’d do a dessert next, but I’m still working on that. Anyway, I’m not just a fan of FE3H. When it comes to long-running Nintendo franchises whose Switch entries are considered among their best, I also love Breath of the Wild. So let’s make yet another stew!

The Dish: Gourmet Meat Stew

The meat has simmered for so long it melts in your mouth. A true bucket-list meal! Required ingredients are Gourmet Raw Meat, Tabantha Wheat, Goat Butter, and Whole Milk.

The Method: Much like last time, I’m keeping this simple – only what the recipe requires, anything mentioned in the flavor text, any necessary accoutrements (like salt and pepper), and anything clearly included in the photo. In this case, it looks like the stew features potatoes and carrots. The flavor text seems to necessitate a slow cooker, and meltiness mentioned suggests a fattier cut of meat. So how’s about a brisket?

The recipe starts when I cut that bad boy in half, freeze one half, and cut the other into bite-sized pieces (I also try to keep a little fat on each piece for maximum fat distribution). Once achieved, they get a generous rub of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and they go into the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.

Once that’s done, it’s time to give our meat a light dredging in flour, then brown it. For this, I’m gonna ape the method J. Kenji Lopez-Alt uses for searing steaks. I’m gonna start by melting a bunch of ghee (that’s just clarified butter – it won’t burn) into a stainless-steel pan, dropping a couple sprigs of rosemary into the melted ghee, and browning my meat in the herbed butter mixture. This will ensure tender, delicious, flavorful meat.

Once all the meat is lightly browned, halve a bunch of potatoes and put them on the bottom of the slow cooker, and fill in any gaps with baby carrots until you have one kinda-uniform layer. Top this with your browned meat, pour in 32oz of high quality beef broth, and set your cooker to “low” for 8 hours, making this simultaneously the longest and least involved recipe I’ve done. When you have about an hour left, whip up a simple milk/butter/flour roux and stir it in there.

The Result: Oh my. I’m not a fan of beef stew, normally, but this is as delicious as advertised. The meat is, true to text, melt-in-your-mouth smooth, and all that extra fat made for a delicious, velvety broth. The rosemary in the ghee made for a delicious herbaceous flavor. The vegetables were fork tender. All told, this was one I’d gladly do again. It’s not on my bucket list, but it might be on yours.

Number 9: Daphnel Stew

Here we are, another nondescript savory dish. Next week I’m doing a dessert, though.

The Dish: Daphnel Stew

Minced poultry and onions boiled with salt. The simple recipe lets high-quality ingredients speak for themselves. Ingredients include Poultry and Onion.

The Research: What’s this? Easy-to-obtain, clear ingredients? Actual cooking instructions? No hard-to-find stuff? Good lord, it’s the holy grail of fictional recipes!

Okay, so I looked at the recipe in-game. It’s clear this is a kind of creamy stew, with…I’m just gonna assume potatoes. It’s clear that something is floating in there, and the only other options are onions (gross), or chicken, but in ball form (ewwwwwwww). There are also whole green onions, which you will realize as not a thing people do. So with our modifications (chopping the taters and chopping the green onions), it’s stew time, baby.

The Method: I’m sticking as close to the text (and image) as possible. That means that with two exceptions, it’s just chicken, salt, onion, potato, and whatever I choose to use to build the liquid portion of my stew. That also means chopping. Lots and lots of chopping. I start by chopping the chicken thighs – about 2.5 pounds worth – into bite-sized pieces. Once achieved, I toss them with some kosher salt (I would ordinarily use black pepper as well, but I’m choosing to literally interpret the rules) and store them in a bag for refrigeration.

While they chill out in their salt, the next order is to chop up some potatoes. I know they’re apparently whole in the game, but c’mon, it’s a soup, you want things to be bite-sized. Anyway, give those the salt treatment as well, then chop up some green onions. Now it’s cooking time!

In an olive oiled pot (a little olive oil being the first exception to our rule…you gotta grease the pan a little!), we cook our chicken thighs until done. Skim those out using a slotted spoon, making sure to leave the rendered fat behind, which we’re gonna put to use…right now. Drop in about half a diced white onion (I use pre-diced, you can dice your own if you so choose) and sauté it in all that wonderful chicken fat. Once the onion chunks are good and soft, add an appropriate amount of flour to form a roux, which will thicken your stew. It’s true, that’s what’ll happen to you.

Next, we pour in a 32-ounce container of chicken stock, a couple of glugs of dry white wine, a solid amount of half and half, and a couple pinches of MSG (exception 2 to our rule but very welcome). Give all of that a stir, then we drop in the potatoes and green onions. Bring it to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, then drop the chicken in and cook for a few minutes and…it’s ready!

The Result: I was fully expecting to come out of this going “well, it was okay, but it was missing…carrots, various aromatics, and other miscellanea that stews and soups need!” But I’ve gotta say, despite the minimalist recipe, this one was flat-out delicious. There were relatively few ingredients, it was easy, and it was really good.

Number 8: Sautéed “Pheasant” and Eggs

Look, if I don’t do a boring one every once in a while, I’ll run out of fun ones.

The Dish: Sautéed Pheasant and Eggs

Thin slices of bird meat and shredded cabbage, mixed with scrambled eggs and sautéed spices. Invention of a certain noble. Ingredients are Poultry and Cabbage, and scrambled eggs are obviously mentioned.

The Research: Sometimes research is complicated because the real-world equivalent seems within reach, if only for one or two roadblocks to stand in my way. Then there are ones like these, which offered nothing in the way of hints. A “certain noble”? If there’s one thing Fire Emblem: Three Houses doesn’t lack, it’s nobles. I’ve played the game through several times and probably haven’t run across all the bluebloods in that universe.

Anyway, enough ranting. I was forced to resort to looking at the in-game dish (it isn’t always accurate! The fried pheasant is clearly roasted, for one!), and it looked like a type of Spanish omelette situation. Which, what the heck, good enough for me. Google tells me that Spanish cooking is heavy on the paprika, garlic, and saffron (but only in paella). The thought of making this a paella-type dish crossed my mind, but I chose to go with something omelet-esque.

The Method: For this one, I made a marinade. Well, first I chopped the chicken into strips. I had the idea of making a katsudon-style presentation (without frying, of course), so I cut the chicken accordingly, but I abandoned the idea pretty quickly.

With our chicken cut, we place that in a Ziploc bag with a mixture of olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Let that sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While you’re waiting, go ahead and shred up as much cabbage as you want. Keep in mind it’ll cook down, so shred more than you might need. Also, if you have a rabbit in your dwelling of choice, by all means, tear them off a little chunk as well.

When the 30 minutes has passed, we’ll start the cooking on medium-high with some garlic and olive oil. Once fragrant, drop in your chicken. When there’s a little sear on the meat, put in the cabbage and let it sauté. In between stirring and flipping, crack 4 eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and whisk until the yolks are broken.

Once your chicken is close to being done, pour in the egg mixture, stirring frequently to make sure it’s incorporated throughout. When the eggs look done, it’s ready. Hit it with some sharp cheddar and it’s good to go.

The Result: Okay, it’s not gonna win any competitions for its looks, but this was a solid dish. Flavorful, filling, and pretty easy. My only recommendation is that I’d add a starch of some kind – maybe serve it over rice or cook it with some potatoes…and while I’m at it, I’d probably use chicken thighs. But all in all, this was a perfectly respectable dish.