Welcome to my first recipe post for the new year! This month my friend Victoria from Pixelated Provisions hosts the Fandom Foodies‘ link-up, #BattleChefBuffet where we all recreate dishes from Trinket Studios’ Battle Chef Brigade. This recipe is the first of two I’ll be releasing this month: Cezar’s Dragon Shank Meatball.
Click here to skip to the recipe for Cezar’s Dragon Shank Meatball!
Vive La Brigade!
The game takes place in Victusia, a magical land overrun by terrifying monsters. To stave off the destruction from both fauna and flora, the people of this world started an army of warrior-chefs called the Battle Chef Brigade. You begin the game as Mina, a family restaurant line cook with big dreams of winning the country’s Iron Chef-style tournaments and joining the brigade. The game is part platformer, part match game, part visual novel, and all fun.
As a cook the thing I find most interesting about this game is that you actually have to think a bit like a chef to succeed:
- You need to think about the right tools to enhance the flavors of your ingredients.
- You must know the properties of your ingredients so that they work well with each other.
- You also must learn to adjust your technique to unexpected time limits and resource availability.
After a single playthrough of flailing around to get through the story, I found myself replaying it a few more times to try getting better and better scores — and to also farm the screenshots my friends I and needed to develop these recipes. Fun fact: You want to lose on purpose so you can see all of the NPCs’ dishes? Present the judges with this:
Granite to Garnets
Cezar, the chef of today’s recipe, is a dwarf more likely to mince two ingredients than two words together.
His style of cooking is comparable to Earth’s Mediterranean cuisine, Italian in particular. I have to give mad props to Trinket’s team for developing a character whose personality is so harmoniously in tune with his food. Italian cuisine is particularly noted for three things:
- Simple Techniques
- Few, High-Quality Ingredients and
- Bold Flavor.
You can see this theme come into play all through Cezar’s appearances whether in his introduction,
in how his specialty item boosts the already present flavors in a dish,
and even in the few, but invaluable words he has to say.
A Beast with a Heart of Fire
So today’s dish features the mighty Dragon!
This ferocious creature spends his time sleeping in a massive heap at the edge of forest biome. Wake him, though, and that pile of fur whirls into a wrecking ball of claws and firey jaws. You’d think it best to let sleeping dragons lie. But they are just so freakin’ delicious!
How delicious? The Battle Chef Brigadiers tend to work dragon shank, heart, and steak into meals that look suspiciously like traditional pork dishes on Earth. Victoria of Pixelated Provisions even made a crispy pork belly recipe recently that is stunningly similar to Mina’s Dragon Shank. With this in mind, I chose to use ground Italian pork sausage. I leave it up to you to decide (on a scale of Instructor Maridain to Ambassador Akebo) how much it embraces the element of fire.
Simple Ingredients = Big Flavor
To make Cezar’s Dragon Shank Meatball, though, I also wanted to include some other ingredients found in the Forest biome. I decided to mix Cheephi Eggs and smoked sundried Sunhat Tomatoes into the sausage to balance it with earth and water essence. Since I was already making a loaf of garlic bread, I figured why not crumble up half of it and use it as the ball’s breadcrumb portion?
I figured the sauce would also be made of Sunhat Tomatoes but decided to thicken it up with a soffritto of onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Normally I would tell you to make this completely from scratch, but I promise you the tomato quality in the standard grocery store tends to be watery, out of season, and lacking the proper punch you need for a sauce. Save yourself some time and disappointment and find yourself a high-quality brand of canned crushed tomatoes like Redpack (Red Gold), San Marzano, or Cento.
So just like Battle Chef Brigade, you will only have three devices available to you with this recipe: an oven, a stovetop with a skillet, and a food processor. Yeah, I know there isn’t CURRENTLY a food processor in the game. I can dream though, right? hint-hint-nudge-nudge-wink-wink
The best thing about this dish, though, ESPECIALLY if you’re a gamer? One meatball is large enough to feed two people. This recipe makes three. They also reheat VERY well in the microwave. Oh look, you now have dinner for the rest of your week-long game binge. You’re welcome.
Liked this dish AND Battle Chef Brigade? Stay tuned next week when I’ll be releasing one of Thrash’s recipes. If you can’t wait that long for more Brigadier Noms, check out the #BattleChefBuffet link up over at Pixelated Provisions!
VIVE LA BRIGADE!
Dining with Dwarves
Cezar's Dragon Shank Meatball
Equipment: Oven, baking sheet, aluminum foil, food processor, digital meat thermometer with meat probe, large skillet.
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 eggs
- 3 oz smoked sundried tomatoes
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lb ground mild or hot Italian pork sausage
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 carrots
- 2 ribs celery
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 beef stock cube
- ricotta cheese
- kosher salt
- fresh basil
- Combine the butter, garlic powder, and a large pinch or two of kosher salt into a small dish until mixed into a uniform paste. Refrigerate it until ready to use.
- Slice the bread on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Spread the butter mix on both sides of all the pieces. Place half of the slices on a baking sheet lined with foil and refrigerate the remaining slices. Turn the oven on a low broil and toast the bread on the baking sheet 3 minutes on each side.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Pulverize the sundried tomatoes and garlic bread separately in the food processor until they are the consistency of uncooked rice grains.
- Pour the tomatoes, crumbs, sausage, parmesan cheese, and two pinches of kosher salt into a mixing bowl. Crack two eggs into the bowl and mix the ingredients together with your hands. Form three meatballs and place them on the baking sheet lined with foil.
- Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven until the thermometer inserted into the center reads 160° F. Make the sauce as the meatballs bake.
- Pulverize the carrot, onion, garlic, and celery in the food processor into a mirepoix the consistency of large breadcrumbs. Heat 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat and add the mirepoix, Cook, frequently stirring, until fragrant and the oil absorbs or has cooked off.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine and season with the crumbled beef bouillon cube. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and reduce the heat to low to simmer. Add kosher salt to taste.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and cool them on a plate lined with paper towels. Remove the skillet from Turn the oven on low broil and toast the remaining bread for 3 minutes on each side.
- Ladle sauce into each serving bowl and use tongs to place a meatball in each bowl. Top with more sauce, scoops of ricotta cheese, and fresh chopped basil. Serve with garlic bread slices.