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.

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.

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.