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Traditional Foods & Recipes

TRADITIONAL RECIPES

Traditional Aboriginal Foods usually included wild game such as moose, deer, fish or other animals native to the hunters’ territory.  Most traditional dishes also included wild berries, maple syrup and various herbs found in the wild.

Following contact with the Europeans, Aboriginal people were introduced to new foods such as sugar and flour. Traditional Bannock (a type of bread) was a version adapted from the European Irish Soda Bread or Scone.

For some great traditional recipes see Long Lost Recipes of an Old Irish Indian a book of recipes by John (Jack) O’Connor with a few recipes from his niece Connie Boyd. The book includes everything from John’s Legendary Bannock to his yummy Moose Bacon recipe.

Here is a recipe for a quick and easy lunch!

CONNIE’S INDIAN TACOS

Place one warm round fry bread or any flat baked or fried bannock on a plate and top with the ingredients listed below and in the same order:

  • Warm Chili, with or without hamburger
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Chopped Fresh Tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Diced Green Onion
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Sour Cream – this can also be served on the side

Eating this requires a fork and knife!

About Pemmican

Pemmican [Cree pimikan, meaning “manufactured grease”] is dried meat, usually Bison, pounded into coarse powder and mixed with an equal amount of melted fat, and occasionally saskatoon berries or other edibles. Cooled and sewn into bison-hide bags in 41 kg lots, pemmican could be stored and shipped with ease to provision Fur Trade. Peter Pond is credited with introducing this vital food to the trade in 1779, having obtained it from the Chipewyans in the Athabasca region. Later, posts along the Red, Assiniboine and north Saskatchewan rivers were devoted to acquiring pemmican from the Plains Indians and Metis. Pemmican was also made and used outside the region, eg, by the Royal Navy, which provisioned several arctic expeditions with beef pemmican made in England.

Author JOHN E. FOSTER From The Canadian Encyclopedia

Although the traditional Pemmican was made with grease added to it, todays Pemmican is not usually made the same way. Bison Pemmican sold at The Silver Moccasin contains no fat and is made with 20% Saskatoon berries, which makes the Pemmican a great tasting and nutritious snack. Also great for camping! Try it you’ll like it!

About Wild Rice

Wild Rice or Manomin in Ojibway, is a traditional native food harvested in the fall. Wild Rice is actually a wild grass which grows in the water. Wild Rice has a wonderful nutty flavour and is rich in nutrients. It is low in fat content, high in protein, fibre, B vitamins and minerals, especially zinc and potassium.

Wild Rice can be used in a variety of ways and is very tasty on its own or combined with other vegetables and meats. See our examples of some very delicious recipes using wild rice.

Wild Rice Recipes

Wild Rice Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups (approx.) sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
    1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas ( optional )
  • 1/4 cup Soya sauce
  • pepper to taste

Method:

Cook wild rice according to How to Cook Wild Rice, remembering to double the amounts in the instructions to accommodate this recipe. Drain the rice if necessary and lightly rinse with water. Brown the bacon ( or chicken ) and drain on paper toweling. Sauté the mushrooms in 2 tbs. butter or oil and toss with rice. In skillet, sauté onions, celery, and green pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bacon, cooked wild rice and mushrooms, peas, Soya sauce, pepper, and gently stir-fry together over medium heat for 5 minutes or until warmed through. Note: This recipe can be varied in many different ways, to make it lower fat, the bacon can be replaced with chicken, and to decrease the amount of salt, the Soya sauce can be replaced with chicken broth. Serves 6 – 8.

Wild Rice With Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 2 Tbs. butter or oil
  • 1 Tbs. grated onion
  • 1 Tbs. each, finely chopped parsley, chives and green pepper
  • 1/2 – lb. fresh mushrooms
  • Pinch nutmeg

Method:

Cook the wild rice. ( see How to Cook Wild Rice ) Melt butter, stir in onion, parsley, chives, and green pepper, sauté for three minutes. Add mushrooms, thinly sliced, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir into the cooked, drained wild rice and serve. This can be served as a side dish with any game or meat, may also be molded into individual buttered timbales.

Popped Wild Rice

Popped wild rice can be used as an interesting replacement for croutons in a salad, or as a garnish on soups, and casseroles. Not all wild rice will pop successfully. The best wild rice to use is hand processed wild rice that usually has more moisture left in each kernel, which will expand when heated. Method: Place about 1/2 inch of oil in a small, shallow pan with a small strainer set in the oil. Heat at high temperature until oil is at about 450 F. Drop 1 kernel of rice into the strainer. When it sizzles, cracks open and expands to about double its length, the oil is ready. ( You may wish to reduce the heat temporarily. ) Add 1 tablespoon of rice at a time to the oil, when all the kernels have expanded ( which constitutes the popping ), empty the strainer out onto paper toweling. Repeat, adjusting heat as necessary. Crisp popped rice may be seasoned with salt, pepper, and mixed herbs to enhance the flavour. This popped rice can be made in large quantities and stored in a sealed container for several weeks.

Spicy Eggplant and Wild Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 medium eggplant, about 1 1/2 lbs.
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 6 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. mango chutney

Method:

Cook wild rice as directed in How to Cook Wild Rice above. Cut eggplant into 1 inch cubes and turn into a bowl. Add the onion, curry powder and ginger. Toss to mix. In deep skillet or wok, heat the oil over high heat. Add eggplant and saute, tossing frequently, for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook until eggplant is tender and browned, for about 25 minutes. Add the salt, lemon juice, chutney, and fold in the wild rice. This dish may be served as a hot side dish, or as a cold or room temperature salad. Serves 4 – 6.