Number 7: Fish and Bean Soup

Fish! Beans! I…don’t have anything to say about those!

I forgot to showcase the stock and wine.

The Dish: Fish and Bean Soup

A soup made by simmering white trout and chickpeas. A simple yet wholesome dish. Ingredients are – get this – White Trout and Chickpeas.

The Research: It’s fish and beans. It’s widely-available fish and widely-available beans. There will be no substitutions today. The only question to answer is how to make it. I could’ve just simmered the fish in the bean water, I guess, but instead I think I’ll make a take on cioppino, a seafood soup.

The Method: Before you do anything, chop some potatoes into your desired size and cut your trout into bite-sized pieces. Toss your fish with salt, pepper, and lime juice, then let it sit until you use it. Don’t do this too far in advance – you don’t wanna let it sit in the lime juice too long, because it’ll cook the fish to some degree (that’s how they make ceviche).

We start the cooking, as we often do, by sautéing some diced onions in a large pot in olive oil. Once translucent, hit them with 6 crushed cloves of garlic, and once that’s smelling good, hit it with a generous squeeze of tomato paste and combine the mixture. Given how often this is done, I’m surprised there isn’t a clever nickname for it, like “OG Paste” or something.

Anyway, once that mixture is cooked for a few minutes, you’re gonna wanna drop in a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then drop in one cup of seafood stock and one cup of dry white wine, followed by your canned chickpeas and potatoes. Give it a stir, bring it to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 30 minutes for me, but this will vary widely).

Once the potatoes are melt-in-your-mouth soft, put in your trout, and return to boil, then simmer until cooked. Serve immediately – or don’t, I’m not your dad, as far as I know.

The Result: Oh my. As it was cooking it smelled too much of wine and tasted a little sour, but the end result was nothing short of amazing. Every element of the soup was delicious – even the chickpeas, which I assumed would kind of disappear into the final dish. I recommend eating it with oyster crackers, and you’ll have a lot of opportunities – this recipe definitely makes leftovers aplenty. I guess you could say that the fish was delish and made quite a dish.

Disclaimer: This is a fan-based blog and has no affiliation with Nintendo or any other rightsholders of Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Three Houses, or any other associated brands. Seriously, don’t leave it in the lime juice too long.

Number 6: Garreg Mach Meat Pie

Meat. Is there any greater thing to put in your food? Of course not.

It’s meat!

The Dish: Garreg Mach Meat Pie

A crispy-brown pie packed with tomatoes, cheese, and tender chunks of meat. Ingredients are Wild Game and Tomato.

The Research: “Meat pie” has two distinct meanings to me: first, as someone who has been to Natchitoches, Louisiana, the “empanada” style of meat pie; second, a nice shepherd’s pie. I decided to go with the latter, as I absolutely won’t mess with puff pastry.

For the topping, I’m going to use Binging with Babish’s mashed potato shepherd’s pie topping, and for the filling, I’m gonna use a version of the shepherd’s pie in this Cracked article…with a few tweaks.

For the “wild game”, all I could locate was lamb. If it helps, imagine Fódlan being overrun by bloodthirsty carnivorous sheep.

The Method: I pretty much followed Babish’s topping to the letter. I didn’t peel my potatoes because I’m incredibly lazy, but that was about the only deviation there. If you need to justify this to friends and family, tell them it’s where all the fiber is. As for the filling, we’re gonna hit it with not one, not two, not even three, but four distinct flavor boosters.

So let’s start with number one: our own homemade cream of mushroom. I use this recipe, with one substitution: I use the Green Giant Frozen Mushrooms. Anyway, with that done, set it aside. Next, your meat.

Brown your meat, then add your homemade cream of mushroom soup, the frozen peas and carrots, and instead of ketchup, our second flavor booster: tomato paste. Get that mixture a-simmerin’ for a bit, then it’s time to dump in flavor boosters three and four: a splash of Worcestershire and a splash of dry red wine…

WARNING: Wine lecture incoming.

…and since I’m a guy with a food blog, I guess now I’m obligated to weigh in. Okay, so, I’ve heard several food voices I admire swear up and down that you should only cook with wine you’d drink, and several other food voices I admire say that it doesn’t matter. In my experience, it really depends.

If you’re cooking with something where the wine is gonna be really noticeable, like a wine sauce, yeah, you probably wouldn’t enjoy it if you don’t drink that wine. But if you’re just throwing some into a dish to add flavor, then go crazy, use whatever. I used a dry red wine and I hardly drink wine…and when I do, I normally drink a sweet white.

Wine Lecture Complete.

With that done, top the filling with the topping, and bake in the oven at the recommended temperature. You can use a casserole dish, or do what I did and cook in a cast-iron skillet. It’ll come out sooner or later.

The Result: Hell yes. So what we’ve basically got is a dish I regularly make, with a deliciously enhanced topping (I normally heat up some frozen mashed cauliflower when I make it on weeknights). This dish is a solid 10…though I did put some diced tomatoes in there and they pretty much disappeared.

Disclaimer: This is a fan-based blog and has no affiliation with Nintendo or any other rightsholders of Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Three Houses, or any other associated brands. Beware of Snarling Hungry Sheep Hill.

Bonus Content 1: Easy Delicious Pasta Sauce

It’s been a while since I posted (I was going to do the Red Country Turnip Plate, but a combo of a stomachache and spoilt turnips put an end to that), so I figured I’d do something constructive for once and actually help you in the kitchen. So I’m gonna show you how I make my pasta sauce.

I forgot to include the tomato paste. Also, ignore the sourdough starter.

Now, a couple of disclaimers: this isn’t the best pasta sauce ever. It’s also not the easiest. But, it’s the ideal compromise between “delicious” and “easy”. Would you get better results with some sort of all-day Sunday gravy? Hell yeah. Is it easier to just plop a jar of Ragu onto some ground beef? Again, the answer is “hell yeah”. This recipe will get you the best taste for the most reasonable amount of work. It may make your Italian grandmother unhappy, but I’m Scotch-German so I don’t have to deal with that. Anyway, you’ll need:

  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • Vodka (yes, vodka)
  • Pepper, basil, misc. spices
  • Diced onions
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Tomato paste
  • 1 lb ground beef/turkey/whatever
  • Pasta of your choice

So the first thing you’re gonna wanna do is dump your tomato sauce into a bowl. Sprinkle in some pepper, some dried basil, and, if your tomato sauce is the “no salt added” kind, some salt. Stir that around, then add one ounce of vodka and stir it in. If you absolutely eschew the use of alcohol, I can’t think of a good substitute, so it won’t be as good, I’m sorry. Vodka is an amazing addition to tomato sauce.

Once your sauce is mixed, sauté some diced onions with olive oil in a small saucepan until translucent, then crush in 4-6 cloves of garlic. Cook this until fragrant, then pour the tomato sauce into the pan, then drop in some tomato paste. Bring it to a simmer then reduce to low heat.

In a different pan, start cooking your meat until browned, then drop in your pasta sauce (if you used really fatty meat, remove most of the fat first). Keep that at a low simmer while you cook your pasta. Once cooked, combine them. Top with some Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Like I said, it’s not the world’s greatest pasta sauce. But it’s very, very good and can easily be made on a weeknight. For an extra 10 minutes of your life you’ll get an extra 30…flavor points. That’s…that’s the scientific measurement of flavor, alongside the French point de saveur or the German Tasteypunkt. Look it up.

Number 5: Bourgeois “Pike”

Welcome back, readers. Today, we’re diving deep into the sea to dine on this entry. That’s right, it’s fish time. We’ll see food…and eat it.

The Dish: Bourgeois Pike

A gourmet fish dish with Airmid pike, vegetables, and a sprinkle of expensive spices. Popular among nobles. Ingredients are Airmid Pike and Carrot.

The Research: Unlike two weeks ago, where I had to find the world’s most difficult-to-find cheese, this one thankfully features no obscure or clearly fictional ingredients. I had difficulty locating pike in my neck of the woods, but the internet tells me that walleye is an acceptable substitute. Wal-Mart, of all places, turned out to be the most reliable source of walleye. So yes, two weeks after I lost my mind researching, even resorting to a cheese encyclopedia, this week my salvation came at the hands of the single most ubiquitous grocery store in the country. Oddly symmetrical, right?

With the meat – if you’ll excuse my pun – of our research done, the next question is what spices they’re talking about. Well, surprise, a lifetime of gathering useless information has led me to retain the heretofore unused kernel of knowledge that saffron is the most expensive spice by weight. Yes, that’s the very same spice that Donovan himself was mad about.

This little thing was like $20. A regular-sized jar of this would cost roughly $23 billion (disclaimer: I am not an economist).

The description also mentions vegetables, so since saffron is used in Moroccan cooking, let’s do this fish right by serving it on a bed of vegetable couscous. I figure that’ll also serve to make it more exotic to the clearly-nonspecifically-European Fódlan region.

The Method: Our first goal is to divide our saffron in half. And since I’ve been educating you, here’s another lesson: one does not simply use saffron. Unlike literally every other spice, which can just be applied right of the bottle, you have to steep saffron in hot – but not boiling – water. The safest way to achieve this that I’ve gathered is to heat some water in a microwave-safe container and drop in a few strands. That’ll give you something called “saffron tea” that looks like the below.

You can optionally crush the saffron into a fine powder before doing this, but you’d need a mortar and pestle, like some sort of turn-of-the-century apothecary.

You let that stuff steep for about 10-20 minutes and then dump the whole thing in whatever it is you’re cooking. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because first we’re doing a ton of chopping in service of making this vegetable couscous. Even if my favorite thing in the world was chopping vegetables, I’d still get tired of it by the end of this.

Looks pretty, though.

With our mise thoroughly en place, and with saffron summarily steeped, our next goal is to sauté our fish (I trust that you know what you’re doing, so I assume you’ve already seasoned your fish with salt and pepper). In a bed of garlic olive oil, we’ll place first our fish and second our saffron tea to get a nice steam going. Next, we place another pan on top of our fish skillet to trap the steam. After a while (about 8-10 minutes), we take off the other pan, flip over the fish, and cook until it has a nice crust.

It kinda fell apart, but it *tastes* good.

With the fish done, we make our vegetable couscous. I followed the linked recipe pretty closely, but I did add the other half of our saffron, along with some turmeric and coriander, to the chicken broth. This was my attempt at imitating my very favorite vegetable couscous, the one found at Medina in Dallas. If you’re ever in town, give it a try (when reasonably prudent to eat at a restaurant, of course). Anyway, it also came out great.

The Result: It was excellent. The fish was perfectly cooked, the couscous was amazing (even if Medina’s is better by a country mile). I have no idea what the developers were imagining with this dish, but I think I successfully pulled off a “bourgeois” version. Walleye is also some of the better fish I’ve eaten, and it’s worth seeking out if you can find it. Cooking with saffron is a huge hassle, but you can’t argue with results.

Disclaimer: This is a fan-based blog and has no affiliation with Nintendo or any other rightsholders of Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Three Houses, or any other associated brands. The continent of Atlantis was an island…

Number 4: Derdriu-Style Fried “Pheasant”

“Fried chicken”. Is there any greater two-word combination in the English language? Well, maybe “lottery winner”. Or “snow day”. Anyway, it’s definitely up there. So how can we handle this bird?

The Dish: Derdriu-Style Fried Pheasant

Pheasant meat is pounded flat and fried. Can be served as a sort of sandwich, with cheese between two strips of meat. Ingredients are Poultry and Carrot.

The Research: For most of my time researching this dish, I was assuming it was good old-fashioned all-American KFC-style fried chicken (Or pheasant, if you will – my inability to locate pheasant coupled with my lack of desire to break down a whole Cornish game hen led me to just buy chicken breasts), but then I remembered Fódlan is meant to be Europe, right? That would place Derdriu in, uh…

Okay, to be quite honest, I have no idea. See, northwestern Fódlan is a pretty solid doppelgänger for northwestern Europe, but east of the Denmark equivalent it falls apart. My best guess is that Derdriu is meant to be Germanic, which means that the fried chicken isn’t American but rather Hahnchenschnitzel, or chicken schnitzel if you don’t speak German, or “breaded chicken cutlet” if you really don’t speak German. And since we’re already cribbing from the Colonel’s notes by making what’s essentially a Double Down, we’re gonna round out the menu with some German-style potato wedges – KFC’s third-best side.

If you’re wondering how I’ll incorporate the carrot, don’t worry. I have a plan for that, but you’re not going to like it.

The Method: Since the taters will officially take the longest to cook, our meal begins by chopping the potatoes into wedges. You’ve seen potato wedges before, c’mon. I don’t need to hold your hand here. Once they’re all chopped up, they’re getting tossed in a combo of olive oil, salt, pepper, and marjoram. Normally I’d probably throw in some garlic powder and maybe a dash of cayenne but German cooking is known for taking it easy on the spices.

Once the wedges are in the oven, the next order of business is to pound the chicken flat, then…look, I’m gonna level with you here, I just used Adam Ragusea’s schnitzel method. It’s easy, it’s foolproof, it’s…well, the results are below. Just do what he recommends and you’ll make a quality schnitzel every time.

Now for our carrots – those will get dropped into a pot of boiling water and cooked until soft. Once sufficiently softened, take a potato masher and crush them until they look sufficiently mashed. Also, just let me say that you probably want to not go with rainbow carrots unless you want your mash to look awful.

Once your carrots are mashed, grate in some of the cheese of your choice (I used Swiss) and combine until melted [see endcap PSA for further info]. Finally, add salt and pepper, along with any other spices you desire. This mash will form the innards of our sandwich.

There’s just one last thing we need to do: just take some sour cream, some dried dill, and combine them into a simple dip that’ll go together with our potatoes like Raphael and literally only food whatsoever.

At some point our various foods will be ready, and hopefully they taste better than they look.

That doesn’t look promising, but we’ll cut the breasts in half and put our Swiss-carrot mash in between them to make a kind of sandwich, just as advertised. Once our taters are out, it’s time to continue the German theme and combine these two drinks below into a nice Rädler. One part lemon-lime soda, one part German lager, all parts delicious.

The Result: Oh my. This may be the best thing I’ve ever made for this blog. The chicken, though not attractive, is delicious, the potatoes are incredible (especially with the sour cream dill dip), and the Rädler is ridiculously refreshing. The real MVP here, though, is the carrot mash. It’s tasty, the cheese adds some great mouthfeel, and it’s a perfect sandwich filling. If I make it again, I’ll probably season the potatoes differently, but that’s the only thing I’d change. All in all, a great meal.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: You may have noticed that I recommended grating your own cheese. Most, if not all, storebought shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that prevent the cheese from clumping together, but also, in my experience, affect melting quality. Get a box grater – you can get a decent one for around $15 – and you’ll never look back.