Traditional Native American Recipes
Today i thought I would share with you some traditional Native recipes using Old World’s ingredients (don’t worry I am giving you some good substitutions) and ingredients from our Mother Earth. Lots of fresh ingredients are used, ideally homegrown. If you are like me and live in a place with no backyard, well do what you can. I have a large balcony and in the Springtime it gets filled with pots containing herbs of all kinds as well as vegetables. Nothing better than just opening the door to get fresh herbs for your recipes 🙂 And if that’s not possible for you, well go to the farmer’s market (some are open year long) and buy whatever you can from your local farmers.
I am also including links to sites with good recipes so you can bookmark them (well first bookmark my site…;). For some recipes, I will give you some time saving tips. Yes you might lose some of the charms of doing it “old style” but sometimes, we are a bit pressed for time….Enjoy and please comment or share your own recipes below!
P.S. I might be adding more directions to the recipes below than you would find on other traditional native sites. Indeed, oftentimes, I found that recipes were really simple but not very directive (e.g. no quantity, no time, etc.). But then again, cook from your heart and do what taste good to you!
Bean and Corn Stew/Soup (Cheyenne and Cree influences)
- Dried Pinto Beans (any white beans)
- Shelled Corn (sweet, dried, homegrown)
- salt,tablespoon or more
- 1-2 dried red chilles deseeded (use your favorite ones)
- bunch of fresh green onions, large bunch
- smoked/dried pemmican , other meats diced
FYI: Use any type of white beans. Ratio of beans to corn is 2 to 1 (e.g. 2 cans of beans, one can of corn). You can then use canned cooked beans, rinse them well before. You can also use sweet canned corn as not a lot of people grow their own. Pemmican is an mixture of dry meat (crushed to a powder) and fat, sometimes fruits were added to it. Nowadays, beef is mostly used but game meat was often used by our ancestors. You can replace it with beef or ham or if you wish to make your own, visit this site. Or this one. You can also use vegetable broth instead of the water to cover beans or a mixture of the two.
If using dry beans and corn, soaked separately overnight. If using canned, do not soak (just rinse), place beans in a big pot, cover with water (or broth) and add salt and diced chiles. Let simmer, for 15 minutes or so, then add corn then pemmican if using and jerk meat of your choice. If not using pemmican, just use ham or even beef diced or shredded. As stated above, ratio of beans to corn is 2 to 1. So you can use 2 cans of beans or 2 cups to one can or 1 cup of corn. Let simmer until meat is tender and consistency is one of a stew (another 15 minutes or so). Right before serving, add green onions or leeks on top and serve with frybread. Enjoy!
Green bean soup (Onondaga Nation)
- 6 red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 handfuls of fresh green beans, tails off, cut in half
- 1/2 or more lb bacon or side pork
- Water, the amount necessary to cover your vegetables for cooking
- Milk, an equal amount with the water
- 1/2 stick butter (or maybe a tad less…)
- salt and pepper to taste
Cut your beans and potatoes and place in big pot covered with water. Begin cooking. Cook your bacon in a pan and once crispy and brown add to the beans and potatoes. Some might not even cook it in a pan, just placing it in with the vegetables. However, that’s not for everyone. Alternatively, you could add it crispy on top of your strew at the very end before serving (as it will get somewhat soggy in the soup). Once veggies are cooked (*I would add carrots to this soup, just add them in at the same as the potatoes and beans), add milk (equal to the amount of water you originally put in). Add butter, salt and pepper and serve with fry bread.
Salmon stuffed frybread (Nishnawbe Nation)
- 1 Or 2 Eggs
- 2 Cans of salmon or fresh filet cooked and flaked
- One Batch Of Your Favorite Fry Bread Dough (see below for mine)
- Bread crumbs
- Oil or butter to fry
My fry bread dough:
3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar and if wanted 1 tsp yeast (mixed in warm water). Mix dry ingredients then add water with yeast in it. Mix until dough forms. Let rest for 45 minutes if you think you can wait….
If you feel lazy, you can always buy a frybread mix on Amazon.
Form patties first. I personally would use fresh salmon rather than canned. Mix flaked fish with one egg (two if necessary) and bread crumbs. I would add green onions and parsley but it’s up to you. Shape into patties about half inch thick and a few inches wide. Fry them in a hot pan with oil (the original recipe called for Crisco). Once done, in the same pan, add one piece of frybread dough, place one salmon patty on top, then add another piece of frybread dough, forming a “sandwich”, sealing the edges. Fry, flipping half way through. Eat as is or cut in half and add vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and pickles to make it more sandwich like.
Gooseberry cobbler (Abenaki)
- 2 cups flour
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cups cornmeal plus 2 tbsp
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups butter or margarine (cold)
- 3/4 cups boling water
- 2 cans ea (15 oz) sweetened whole gooseberries. You could also use frozen blueberries or cherries, thawed.
- 1 teaspoon honey
Sift flour with 1/2 cup cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add butter or margarine and blend using pastry blender or fork and fingers. Blend until roughly mixed. Add hot water and blend well. Separate dough in half. Place half on a 8″x8″x2″ baking pan, pressing it to the bottom. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp cornmeal. Mash half of gooseberries in their syrup or juice or other fruit you are using (you can even mix 2 types of fruits). Then stir the remaining gooseberries with lemon juice and honey. Pour over dough in pan. Place the other half of the dough on top (it can be roughly placed) then top with remaining 1 tbsp cornmeal. Bake in oven at 400-425 (depending on your oven) for about 30 minutes, until top is golden.
P.S. you can see how this recipe uses more traditional ingredients. Indeed, in our modern days, oatmeal and sugar are often used in cobblers instead of cornmeal and honey.
Kick the cold out of ya tea (Akwesasne Mohawk)
- Two Large handfulls White cedar needles (or just regular cedar)
- Tea pot worth of water
- REAL Lemon Juice(not the fake stuff)
FYI: I also posted more herbal remedies to treat common ailments. Read about it here. As We are in the middle of winter, cold season, I thought I would post this very easy and not too bad tasting tea recipe. It apparently has numerous vitamins in it and can help with cold symptoms such as chills, cough and runny nose.
Place needles directly in water and boil until water becomes a green color. Discard needles. Remove from heat and mix one cup of tea with a tsp of honey and a squirt of lemon. Drink a few times a day for a day or two and you will kick that cold out of ya!