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Recipes for wild rice casserole, cranberry sauce, bannock stuffing, pumpkin 'latte'

10/06/2014 10:40 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST
Here are some recipes from First Nations chefs.

Gourmet Wild Rice Casserole(Li Rii Faroosh Kasarool Gormaa)

Wild rice is not rice at all but an aquatic North American grass with edible grains. This recipe would make a great side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. It can be prepared the day before and baked just before serving.

250 ml (1 cup) wild rice (unsoaked)

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

750 ml (3 cups) boiling water

250 g (1/2 lb) mushrooms, sliced

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped onion

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter

250 ml (1 cup) grated old cheddar cheese

1 can (540 ml/19 oz) tomatoes

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

250 ml (1 cup) hot water

To follow the "quick-soak" method to prepare wild rice, add rice to salted boiling water and cook, covered, until nearly tender, about 30 minutes. Drain if necessary. Set aside.

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

In a pan, saute mushrooms and onion in butter for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix rice with all ingredients and place mixture in a buttered 2-l (2-qt) casserole. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

Makes about 1.5 l (6 cups) or 6 to 8 servings.

Source: Recipe contributed by Thomas A. Logan, Ontario. "Metis Cookbook and Guide to Healthy Living," 2nd edition (National Aboriginal Health Organization, 2008); reprinted with permission of The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. (The National Aboriginal Health Organization, which published the cookbook containing this recipe, closed in 2012, but a copy of the cookbook is available online.)

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Cranberry Sauce (Saas di Pabinaa)

Canada's indigenous peoples used cranberries for medicinal purposes and also as a source of dye, but these days it is a favourite accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey.

1 l (4 cups) fresh cranberries

500 ml (2 cups) water

500 ml (2 cups) sugar

In a large saucepan, combine cranberries and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes.

Pour into hot sterilized half-pint (1-cup) jars, filling to 5 mm (1/4 inch) from the top. Place sterilized metal lids on jars and screw metal bands on securely. For added assurance against spoilage, process jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. These will keep in refrigerator for at least 4 months after opening.

For cranberry jelly:

Press cooked cranberry-water mixture (above) through food mill or sieve. Add sugar and boil as above.

Makes 1 l (4 cups).

Source: Recipe contributed by Christine Logan, Ontario. "Metis Cookbook and Guide to Healthy Living," 2nd edition (National Aboriginal Health Organization, 2008); reprinted with permission of The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. (The National Aboriginal Health Organization, which published the cookbook containing this recipe, closed in 2012, but a copy of the cookbook is available online.)

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Pork 'n' Bannock Stuffing

B.C. restaurant owner Sharon Bond says there's lots of room to improvise with her pork 'n' bannock stuffing, which can be stuffed in the bird or cooked in a casserole. Bannock bread and fry bread are First Nations favourites and numerous recipes are available online.

You can make this recipe your own by choosing to use pears or apples, cranberries or raisins alone instead of together, by the choice of nuts or seeds or by using ground beef or venison instead of pork. Another kind of bread can be substituted for bannock or fry bread.

1 kg (2 lb) ground pork

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

500 ml (2 cups) chopped apple or pear

250 ml (1 cup) chopped walnuts or pine nuts

250 ml (1 cup) fresh cranberries

125 ml (1/2 cup) raisins

15 ml (1 tbsp) poultry seasoning

Salt and pepper, to taste

1.5 to 2 l (6 to 8 cups) cubed, day-old bannock or fry bread

250 to 500 ml (1 to 2 cups) organic chicken broth

In a large pan, cook ground pork in olive oil until well done, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Drain if necessary and remove from pan. Set aside.

Heat oven to 190 C (375 F).

Add butter to a medium hot pan and then add onion, celery and garlic. Cook till onion is translucent and celery has softened. Add apple, nuts, cranberries and raisins. Stir to mix and then add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in well.

Combine vegetable-fruit mixture with pork and then mix thoroughly with dried bannock cubes. Pour chicken broth over mixture.

Pour into greased or buttered casserole dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 2 l (8 cups).

Source: Chef Sharon Bond, Kekuli Cafe, Westbank and Merritt, B.C.

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Pumpkin "Latte" Soup

Chef David Wolfman likes to give traditional aboriginal dishes a modern twist. In this case, he suggests serving pumpkin soup as an appetizer in shooter glasses.

1 medium pumpkin

1 medium onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

75 ml (1/3 cup) white wine

50 ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground allspice

750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock

Salt and pepper, to taste

250 ml (1 cup) skim milk

1 ml (1/4 tsp) lime zest

Peel and seed pumpkin; dice into even-sized cubes totalling about 1 l (4 cups).

In a saucepan, sweat onion, celery and garlic in butter until soft. Deglaze with wine and half the maple syrup. Add thyme, bay leaf, allspice, pumpkin and stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on a low simmer.

Remove bay leaf. Blend mixture in a food processor, along with remaining maple syrup, and place back in a clean pot. Bring to a boil, taste, and adjust seasoning.

Steam milk with the zest. (Alternatively, serve with creme fraiche.)

To serve, ladle into small shooter glasses and top with a spoonful of steamed milk.

Makes 20 mini or 10 medium portions.

Source: Chef David Wolfman, culinary arts professor, George Brown College, Toronto; host of "Cooking with the Wolfman" (APTN).

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