SHULK - Rabbit "Shooter's Sandwich" with Mushroom Duxelles and Welsh Rarebit Sauce
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
Now its time for a recipe inspired by the Monado-wielding visionary, Shulk! I've never played Xenoblade, so my amazing team of patrons were of great help with devising this recipe!
Our initial thought was working-class British food, since Shulk and the gang are portrayed as a rag-tag group of Brits (mainly because the English translation was handled by Nintendo of Europe, rather than America). One idea was a meat pie, which perfectly represents industrialized Britain, befitting the mechanized world of Xenoblade. But another idea that we considered was to make a sandwich, as a reference to the scene where Shulk tastes a sandwich made by his girlfriend Fiora.
Then, I discovered something called a Shooter's Sandwich - a British innovation which is almost like a cross between a sandwich and a meat pie! Perfect! This sandwich is created in a large hollowed out loaf of bread, wrapped up and pressed flat - it was designed by hunters and travelers to be eaten on the go, but nowadays, its a popular food to take on a picnic. This felt very appropriate for the sprawling open world that Shulk and his friends traverse!
The recipe calls for rabbit, as a nod to one of the more common Xenoblade enemies, the Bunnit! Rabbit also has that "wild" feel which reinforces the theme of open-world exploration, as well as the shooter's sandwich's origins in wild game hunting. But really, any meat would work great - I used roast beef in mine!
The real star of the show is the meat's flavouring - after all, Fiora stated that she used lots of herbs and spices in the sandwich to test Shulk's sense of taste, which is apparently quite limited! I decided to go for a somewhat Indian-inspired spice rub, given how popular Indian food is in the UK. I also included a Japanese twist with some soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger, as a nod to Xenoblade's status as one of the more influential JRPGs in recent years! British cuisine inspired a few of the other flavour boosters, such as Worcestershire sauce and horseradish. Don't be thrown off by the long list of herbs and spices - the taste isn't overwhelming at all, it just adds the perfect amount of flavourfulness to wake up Shulk's taste buds!
I included some other fillings which reference some other famous working-class British foods: I made a delicious cheese sauce inspired by Welsh Rarebit, and included some mustard and mushroom duxelles, a-la Beef Wellington. Some pickled onions and rashers of bacon make this meal feel quintessentially British!
1 rabbit saddle, deboned (or, a 1-2 lb sirloin tip roast beef)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp ketchup
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp dried coriander
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
⅛ tsp allspice
⅛ tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large round loaf of crusty bread
6 rashers of thick-sliced bacon
⅓ cup pickled pearl onions, halved
Whole grain mustard, for spreading
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups assorted wild mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Welsh Rarebit Spread:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp horseradish
½ cup dark beer such as porter or stout
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar
½ tsp dry mustard
⅛ tsp paprika
⅛ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp black pepper
A pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ cup cream
Preheat the oven to 425°.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, garlic, ginger, and orange zest (the wet rub). In another small bowl, combine salt, pepper, curry powder, coriander, cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and nutmeg (the dry rub). Set aside.
Lay the de-boned rabbit saddle flat and brush the inside with the wet rub. Roll tightly into a long cylinder, and tie with butcher's twine. Brush the outside with olive oil and the dry spice mixture. If using steak or roast beef, simply rub the entire piece of beef with both mixtures.
Place the rabbit roulade (or roast beef) in a roasting pan. Roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes until just beginning to brown, then lower heat to 300° and cook for an hour or until a thermometer displays an internal temperature of 140-145°. (If using steak, simply fry in a pan to your desired doneness.)
Remove from heat, tent with tinfoil, and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing as thin as possible. Place in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
For mushroom duxelles:
Fry bacon in a large saucepan until crisp. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
Drain about half of the bacon fat out of the pan and cook the shallot and garlic in the remaining fat for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add finely chopped mushrooms and herbs. Add vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until liquid is cooked off, at least 5 minutes. Stir in butter and any drippings from the meat, set aside.
For Welsh rarebit spread:
Melt butter in a medium sauce pot. Stir in flour, cooking over medium-low heat to avoid burning, until a smooth and creamy roux is formed. Add mustard, Worcestershire, horseradish, and the beer, stirring until smooth.
Add shredded cheese and spices, stirring constantly until cheese melts and a smooth, thick bubbly sauce is formed. Remove from heat and stir in cream until fully homogeneous.
Cut off the upper third of the bread loaf like a "lid." Hollow out the loaf, leaving the "walls" about 1 inch thick - sort of like you're carving a pumpkin! Spread the grainy mustard and some more horseradish on the bottom of the loaf.
Layer about half of the thinly sliced meat in the bottom of the hollowed out loaf. Top with a generous layer of mushroom duxelles, the pickled onions, and then layer the bacon on top. Add more meat on top, top with the rarebit sauce, and put the bread "lid" back on.
Wrap the entire loaf in tinfoil, place in a shallow cast iron skillet, and place an inverted plate or cutting board on top, weighed down with something heavy (books, weights, paint can), to "press" the sandwich flat, for about 2 hours.
When nicely flattened, store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Unwrap, cut into wedges, and serve.
Elements of this recipe were created with the help of my generous patrons! If you'd like to help me create future recipes, consider supporting me on Patreon!