Tag Archives: indigenous

Cedar planked salmon

Indigenous Chefs Come Together to Cook for Kamloops Community in Mourning

Time and time again, we have been shown how food can be used for good — from raising money to fight anti-Asian racism to honouring the history of racialized trans people. And now, it is here to help heal.

Last week, the remains of 215 children were found in Kamloops at the site of Canada’s largest residential school via a ground-penetrating radar survey. Some of the remains belonged to children as young as three. There have been many gestures of solidarity across the country, including from a group of Indigenous chefs.

Cedar planked salmon

Get the recipe for West Coast Cedar-Planked Salmon

“It’s really, really saddening to see something like this,” says Paul Natrall, a BC-based chef and owner of Mr. Bannock Indigenous Cuisine.  “I have a very big, young family. I just couldn’t imagine something like that happening to any of my kids… it’s close to home. My grandfather was in residential schools, my grandmother too.”

Related: Canadian Restaurants Boycotting Lobster in Support of Mi’kmaq Fisheries

Paul’s old instructor Ben Genaille got in touch over the weekend and came up with an idea to go cook for the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation to support their community. “I was like ‘yeah, let’s do it,’ and with my connections in the Indigenous culinary world, we got a bunch of things together and just trying hard to make it all gel together and go up to Merritt and Kamloops,” Paul said this morning on a call before he took the three-hour drive to BC’s Interior.

 

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Approximately eight chefs will be volunteering their time to cook for four days, from June 1 to 4. They’re hoping to serve 250 people a day, for a total of 1,000 meals served. On the menu? Bison, deer, bannock tacos, potato salad, bacon and corn soup with squash and beans, as well as candied salmon and 20 pounds of regular salmon.

There have been calls for action to investigate all former residential schools sites. “I’m pretty sure all our other communities will need the same kind of assistance that we’re doing here,” Paul said.

To learn more and/or to donate, check out the Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations (both Paul and Food Network Canada’s Christa Bruneau-Guenther from Wall of Chefs are on the board of directors), as well as the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Indigenous frybread tacos on white plate

Make Indigenous BBQ Chicken Frybread Tacos for Dinner Tonight

These tacos are crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. You can use any style of meat and toppings, but one of our favourites is caramelized grilled BBQ chicken. There’s an art to layering these tasty tacos. Start with your fresh frybread, shredded lettuce, grilled BBQ chicken, topped with your own quick homemade pebre (salsa, Chilean style) adapted from our Indigenous friends of Chile.

Indigenous frybread tacos on white plate

BBQ Chicken Frybread Tacos

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Frybread
3 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup sugar
3 cups milk or water (approx.)

Pebre
2 cups finely diced fresh field tomatoes
½ cup finely diced red onions
½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp lime juice (about ½ fresh squeezed lime)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 pinch salt

BBQ Chicken
8 5-oz cage-free chicken breasts
3 Tbsp butter and cooking oil, for frying
1 cup BBQ sauce

Toppings 
1 head lettuce, shredded
8 oz sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre, slowly add milk or water to the well and gently stir and fold until just combined. Dough will be slightly sticky. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.

2. In a large cast iron pan, heat cooking oil to 350ºF.

3. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough onto floured surface. Sprinkle dough with flour and pat dough lightly until flour is absorbed. Cut off a piece of dough, flour lightly and pat piece of dough into a 4-inch diameter circle. Flatten and stretch between your hands to about ½ inch thick.

Related: Grilled Chicken Recipes Your Dinner Table Needs Right Now

4. Gently place flattened dough into hot oil, cooking until golden brown, about 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side, turning only once. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

5. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the pebre and let rest for the flavours to meld.

6. Thinly slice chicken breast lengthwise into ½ inch strips.

Related: Metis Herbalist Shares Edible Plants and Weeds Found in Canada

7. In a large cast iron pan, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add sliced chicken, season with salt and pepper. Cook until no pink remains and internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Lightly brush with your favourite BBQ sauce. Grill until slightly caramelized and golden brown.

8. For each taco, place a piece of frybread on your plate, start with a handful of shredded lettuce, add strips of the caramelized chicken breast on top, dollop of sour cream, a few Tbsp of shredded cheese and top it off with a tablespoon of Pebre salsa.

Like Sharon’s BBQ chicken frybread tacos? Try her buffalo beef stew.

Turkey Tortellini is the Perfect Special Occasion Dinner for Two

Thomas Keller’s recipe for pasta dough (from his important 1999 cookbook, The French Laundry) is the first pasta recipe I ever learned and the only one I’ve used since then. The only alteration I’ve made is to use canola oil instead of olive oil — because it’s from the Canadian Prairies. Of course, the turkey tortellini filling and the wild rice are my own Indigenous spins. And since tortellini is so late-1990s, I just had to go with a rich cream sauce!

Turkey tortellini in white bowl

Turkey Tortellini With Creamed Wild Rice

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Pasta
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
1 ½ tsp canola oil
1 Tbsp milk (2% or 3.25%)

Filling
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup diced onion
6 oz / 170 g ground turkey
6 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1 large egg
¼ cup whipping (35%) cream
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

Wild Rice
1 ½ cups water
½ cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
½ cup whipping (35%) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional), for serving

Equipment:

Pasta Roller

Directions:

1. Make the pasta dough: on a clean, non-porous surface or a large wooden cutting board, shape the flour into a mound with a 6-inch crater in the centre. Put the egg and yolks, oil and milk in the centre. Using your fingers, break the yolks and start to swirl the wet ingredients with your fingers, but don’t let the inside of the crater break through the flour sides. As you continue to swirl, the flour will very slowly incorporate into the eggs. Be patient and keep swirling. You can start to use your other hand to shore up the sides and move some of the flour into the egg mixture. As the mixture thickens, the dough will start to become shaggy. Once you can’t swirl any more flour in this way, use a pastry scraper to start to fold the flour into the dough and knead it with the heels of your hands. Keep kneading and incorporating as much flour and parts that have broken off into the main dough ball. This will take a good 10 to 15 minutes. The dough will eventually start to soften and become smooth and elastic. Keep kneading for another 10 minutes. You can’t overdo the kneading.

Related: Easy Stuffed Pasta Recipes That Start With Store-Bought Noodles

2. Form a tight dough ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour. (You can make the dough the day before and keep it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Bring it back to room temperature before you roll it out).

3. Make the filling: heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sautee until they start to turn brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until it’s cooked through and becomes crumbly in texture, about 5 minutes. Add the minced sage leaves and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture becomes fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the egg and the cream and cook just until the filling comes together, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.

4. Make the rice: meanwhile, combine the water, a pinch of salt and rice in a pot. Stir well, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until most of the rice kernels have opened fully, showing the white inside. Drain well, cover and set aside.

Related: Romantic Date Night Recipes to Make at Home

5. Make the tortellini: divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Lightly flour a clean work surface or a cutting board. Set your pasta roller to the thickest setting. Flatten a portion of dough into a disc (keep the rest of the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out) and send it through the pasta roller. Repeat, rolling and gradually reducing the setting on the pasta roller to its thinnest setting, until you get the pasta sheet as thin as you can. Place the pasta sheet on a floured surface, cover with a cloth, and repeat with the remaining dough portions.

6. Cut each pasta sheet into 2-inch squares. Place 1 tsp of turkey filling in the centre of each square. With slightly wetted fingers, bring two opposite corners of each filled square together to form a triangle. Press the edges together to seal the tortellini. Then bring two points of the triangle together and press to seal (it should now resemble a tortellini). One point will remain. Repeat with the remaining squares.

7. Fill a large soup pot with 8 to 12 cups of water and salt it generously (about a Tbsp). Bring to a rolling boil. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, drop in the tortellini and cook for about 4 minutes, just until the dough is fluffy and cooked all the way through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and cover. Set aside and keep warm. If the pasta starts to stick together, gently toss it in a drizzle of oil.

8. Assemble the dish: in a large skillet over medium heat, combine the cooked wild rice and the cream. Cook for about 3 minutes, just to warm through. Add the cooked tortellini and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with grated Parmesan (if using).

tawaw cookbook coverExcerpted from tawâw Progressive Indigenous Cuisine by Shane M. Chartrand with Jennifer Cockrall-King. Copyright © 2019 Shane Mederic Chartrand and Jennifer Cockrall-King. Reproduced with permission from House of Anansi Press Inc., Toronto. All rights reserved. www.houseofanansi.com


tawâw Progressive Indigenous Cuisine, Amazon, $35.

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Buffalo stew in a boat next to bread

This Buffalo Beef Stew is Classic Comfort Food in a Bowl

This warm and hearty stew filled with chunks of buffalo stew meat, vegetables, potatoes, corn and peas will fill you up and keep you happy! A Dutch oven or heavy saucepan is the best way to cook this buffalo beef stew: which is classic comfort food served in a bowl.

Buffalo stew in a boat next to bread

Buffalo Beef Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

¼ cup canola oil or olive oil
¼ cup butter
2 lb(s) buffalo stew meat, cubed
1 splash red wine
2 onions, chunky slices
2 clove garlic, diced
4 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp steak spice
Few sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced chunky
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cup corn
2 cup peas
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Using a large pan, heat oil and butter.

2. Add the buffalo meat and brown the meat on all sides.

3. Add red wine, onions and garlic and cook until translucent.

Related: Warm and Comforting Beef Stew Recipes

4. Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, steak spice, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and bring to a boil.

5. Add carrots, potatoes, celery, corn and peas.

6. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 1-2 hours.

Related: Canadian First Nations Recipes You’ll Love

7. Remove bay leaf.

Tip: To thicken the stew, shake 1 part flour to 1 part cold water in a covered shaker. Add slowly into the buffalo stew until desired thickness is reached.

8. Serve with fresh hot baked bannock or buns of your choice!

Buffalo stew in a boat next to bread

This recipe was originally featured on You Gotta Eat Here! Check out more of John Catucci’s foodie adventures on Big Food Bucket List.

Bannock butternut squash pizza

Christa Bruneau-Guenther’s Butternut Squash Bannock Pizza = Perfect Comfort Food

Just when you thought comfort food couldn’t get any better, this bannock pizza crust — from Christa Bruneau-Guenther of Feast Café Bistro — makes for the perfect canvas. It is layered with mouth-watering roasted butternut squash, lots of cheese and a maple chipotle white sauce.

Bannock butternut squash pizza

Butternut Squash Bannock Pizza

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 1 large pizza or 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

Bannock Dough Pizza Crust
3 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
¾ tsp yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil (canola oil or vegetable oil)
1 ½ cups warm water

Maple Chipotle Lime Sour Cream White Sauce
¼ cup sour cream
2 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp chipotle paste (or 1 Tbsp finely minced from a can of chili in adobo sauce)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice (or use 1 tsp lime juice from concentrate)

Other Pizza Ingredients
½ butternut squash, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil, avocado oil, vegetable oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 tsp pine nuts
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

Related: Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther Brings Her Home Cooking and Indigenous Roots to Wall of Chefs

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, make the dough: combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Then make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.

2. In a separate bowl, add yeast and oil to warm water and mix with a fork. Gently pour the liquid mixture into the flour hole or well.

3. Using a fork, spoon or hands, fold or work the flour into the water. Knead the dough into a ball, don’t over knead. Let dough sit for 10-15 minutes covered with a kitchen towel.

Related: The Best Homemade Pizza Recipes (Including Dough From Scratch)

4. For the sauce: in a mid-sized bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Reserve for later.

5. Pre-heat oven to 400°F and place squash on a baking sheet. Add oil, chili powder and salt, mix well. Scatter squash into a single layer. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until squash is cooked through and soft. Set aside.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out reserved bannock dough with a rolling pin,  and place on a sheet pan. Prick dough with a fork.

Related: Canadian First Nations Recipes You’ll Love

7. Add white sauce to dough and generously place squash over dough. Sprinkle squash with pine nuts and various cheeses. Bake at 425°F for 15-17 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

8. Remove from heat. Add a smattering of green onions and top with drizzle of white sauce. Enjoy.

This recipe first appeared on an episode of Big Food Bucket List, which you can watch here. Big Food Bucket List streams Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

This Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam is the Perfect Appetizer

Not only does cooking reflect culture, but it also reveals the resources found in a community’s surrounding environment. I discovered a love for food as a child, later combining my passion for cooking with the desire to know the history and cuisine of the First Nations peoples better. This is the inspiration behind my dishes.

I work with foragers and hunters in northern Québec who supply me with exceptional products such as wild cattails and currant leaves. My venison carpaccio recipe, which includes cedar jelly and a sea buckthorn jam, is a great example of my cooking technique. Slices of the freshest venison are garnished with the boreal flavours of cedar and sea buckthorn, a tart vitamin C–rich berry that can be found fresh or frozen at specialty markets.

At its essence, my work is focused on adapting the traditional pantry of an ancient culture to modern tastes. For the First Nations, respect for Mother Earth is paramount. By staying in harmony with nature, my recipes permit me to rediscover forgotten flavours that long served as a cuisine of survival. The Canadian wilderness has so much to offer: spices, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and roots, plus boreal nutmeg, peppery green alder (or dune pepper), wood cardamom, serviceberry, wild celery root and the Labrador tea, a tisane of local herbs. These are the colours in my palette of Indigenous cuisine.

Venison-Carpaccio-With-Cedar-Jelly-and-Sea-Buckthorn-Jam_888embed

Venison Carpaccio With Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Sea Buckthorn Jam
1 lb (600 g) sea buckthorn berries, rinsed
14 oz (400 g) apples, diced
17½ oz (500 g) sugar

Venison
12 thin slices venison
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cedar jelly
2 tsp (10 ml) duck fat
Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste
Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Related: Holiday Party Appetizers Your Guests Will Love

Directions:

1. In a saucepan with splash of water, cook sea buckthorn berries over low heat until they burst.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into clean saucepan then discard seeds. Add apples to berry mixture and stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on the surface. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Place venison on serving dish. Brush each slice with cedar jelly and duck fat, then sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Garnish with sea buckthorn jam and microgreens.

Published October 13, 2015, Updated December 28, 2020

Close up shot of Christa Bruneau-Guenther

Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther Brings Her Home Cooking and Indigenous Roots to Wall of Chefs

Since childhood, chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther has cared for others in her extended family and community, using food to share stories and sustenance. Born in Winnipeg, Christa is a member of Peguis First Nations but grew up partially removed from her traditional Cree and French Métis roots. “The disconnect came from being brought up in an urban city and also the effects of residential schools,” she says. “Growing up in poverty, it’s just about survival every day.”

Christa Bruneau-Guenther on the set of Wall of Chefs

Although an aunt taught her to make bannock and homemade jam and there were the occasional fishing and foraging trips, Christa’s food journey really began in her 20s when she began to transition from home cook to chef. “Since I had 32 cousins and all I ever did was babysit from when I was eight, I was really good at taking care of others,” she says. At the age of 23, Christa opened up an Indigenous holistic licensed family daycare that helped inner-city children with trauma and other health concerns. She applied for government funding and began developing recipes in accordance with the newly released Canada’s Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. 

See More: 12 Canadian First Nations Recipes

It was an eyeopener for Christa. “For the first time, I saw ingredients that were related to my Cree culture, such as squash, or pine nuts, and began incorporating them into our food program, getting the children involved in the food culture as well,” she says. “For myself and my staff, who were also Indigenous, we had this new sense of pride and self-worth and an understanding of where we came from.”

In her decade running the daycare, Christa continued her research into recipes and ingredients from her Indigenous heritage, which brought the challenges of recording recipes passed down through oral recounting and the lack of subject-specific recipe books in her local libraries. She began tapping into the community of Indigenous elders, as well as sharing her knowledge with local universities and residents. As a home cook with no restaurant experience or training other than a brief career as a server, Christa eschewed the traditional culinary school path. “Most of my learning was through Food Network, actually. I would watch and write down simple recipes from chefs such as Giada de Laurentiis and Christine Cushing and experiment in my own kitchen,” she says.

When an open space in the Ellice Café and Theatre — formerly a community-subsidized cafe meant to help homeless or displaced people — became available, the owners were looking for someone who would bring a similar aesthetic to the space. Christa opened Feast Café Bistro in Winnipeg’s West End in December 2016, showcasing the simple and affordable recipes that she brought from her home kitchen. The restaurant is already a fixture in providing aid to the homeless through donation initiatives of leftover food and “pay it forward” programs.

Related: 12 Tasty Canadian Indigenous Restaurants

Key to Christa’s efforts is accessibility of Indigenous ingredients — which can be a challenge given that the food costs of some harder to find foraged items can be higher than others. Feast uses these ingredients to maximize their flavour while keeping them affordable, such as incorporating sweetgrass, juniper and cedar for a dry rub for bison, sumac or bee pollen for pickling, and bannock as a pizza or sandwich base.

Christa Bruneau-Guenther on the set of Wall of Chefs

Christa also uses this accessibility ethos in her judging for Wall of Chefs, wanting to promote home cooks and their skill sets, bringing them into her shared community of those who cook for love. “Home cooks may have an advantage: they’re used to looking in their fridge and come up with something that’s healthy and that your family will love,” says Christa. “I want viewers to see that you can do this too, and even though you’re not a highly trained chef, it doesn’t mean that you can’t cook a delicious, pretty looking plate of food that feeds your soul.”

Watch full episodes of Wall of Chefs online. You can also stream your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Kate Bouska

Bringing Indigenous Cuisine to the Table

Two years ago, Kate Bouska wasn’t sure if she’d ever see her dream of owning a food truck come true. The woman, from Baker Lake, Nunavut had moved to Ottawa to pursue her love of cooking, but found herself battling depression, struggling financially and falling behind in school. Eventually she dropped out of her chef training program, but Bouska’s culinary ambitions didn’t end there.

This 20-year-old woman is one of 17 students enrolled in Algonquin College’s new indigenous cooking pre-apprenticeship program. The program is offered free, thanks to a grant from the Ontario government, and provides training for the next generation of young, indigenous Canadian chefs. In the first few weeks, Bouska’s already learning food theory, knife and presentation skills, as well as how to cook traditional indigenous cuisines from communities across Canada.

“When I found out about this course it was the answer to my dreams,” Bouska says. “The program isn’t quite what I had expected but it is interesting to learn all types of First Nations food.”

Kate Bouska

Kate Bouska is excited to get to put her culinary skills to the test cooking at the campus restaurant.
Algonquin College

The culinary school is the brainchild of Wes Wilkinson, the program’s academic manager, who saw a disconnect between aboriginal students and the curriculum in some culinary programs.

“We hired all indigenous instructors and indigenous consultants to help with the program’s development,” says Wilkinson, who wanted to ensure students were learning from Canada’s best chefs. “Instructors are everything from Algonquin, to Mohawk to Cree to from Nunavut.”

The result is a curriculum food lovers would be excited to taste. Jerome Brasser, executive chef at Ottawa’s Wabano Centre, leads the six-hour cooking class on Fridays, where he, with the help of guest instructors, teach students how to make everything from fry bread, to hominy corn to Arctic char gravlax.

“Last week we made three different types of bannock. We made cinnamon brown sugar bannock, plain bannock and blueberry bannock. We’re having a lot of fun and the students are really enjoying it,” says Brasser. “I try to come up with traditional recipes and teach them the basics too.”

Eager young chefs will also learn how to skin and cook beaver, smoke goose and rabbit over the campfire and learn how to cook wild game such as venison, bison and elk.

“Some of my previous students, who have graduated from the culinary course, have offered to teach as well, since they came from reserves and are living in Ottawa. They have jobs here now and are really interested in teaching the young folks their processes.”

The semester culminates with the entire class running the kitchen at the campus’ Restaurant International — an experience that will put their culinary skills to the test. It’s this high-stakes environment that Bouska looks forward to the most.

“It’s exciting. The highlight is learning how to plate,” says Bouska. “The precise cuts are the most difficult.”

It’s seeing students like Bouska find work at the end of their 8-week placement that will be the true marker of the program’s success for Wilkinson.

“Ultimately this is what this is all about,” says Wilkinson, who is excited to see students, who come from communities across Canada, thrive.

For Bousa, she still has her eye on opening a food truck with her friend, with plans on using her cooking school experience to create an indigenous menu.

Hungry? Discover 12 Tasty Canadian Indigenous Restaurants.

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