This will eventually be a extensive section dedicated to native recipes
both of the old ways and of
the new ways with a brief overview
describing the transitional days of free natives and then to
days and food rations.
Current recipes include
INDIAN FRIED BREAD,
NAVAJO FRIED BREAD WITH ELDERBERRY HONEY, OLD STYLE FRIED YEAST
BREAD, SMOKED MEAT, CHEROKEE YAM CAKES, STUFFED HEART, STUFFED
DEER HEART, TOURTI'ERE (MEAT PIE), PORK PIE, CAMP FIRE RIBS,
TIPS FOR COOKING WILD GAME MEAT, CORNMEAL - FRIED FISH, MAPLE
CORN BREAD, MINTED TROUT, HOPI CORN STEW, VENISON OR BUFFALO BEEF CHILI
I hope you find it interesting and even adventurous to try a few...good
luck and happy eating.
THE WAYS OF OUR GRANDMOTHERS
The varieties of food kept cooking pretty simple...only since the days
of the reservation period have
the grandmothers learned to deal with
and cook store bought food, so some of the following recipes
from that period. I think you will find some amusing as to the
content of their diets during
I've heard some funny stories of how the old people reacted to some of
the foods given to them by
the government, or sold to them by traders
and nearby storekeepers. I think you too will get a
what I am about to share with you.
For instance, when they were first given rice, they dumped it all out,
because they thought the
government was trying to feed them dried
maggots. They use to dump out their flour too so they
the sacks that the flour came in for clothing. Kids those days
were real proud if they had clothes
with pictures and writings on them.
Not too much has changed LOL. When the people first
beans they tried to bake them in the coals of their hearth fires,
because they found them to hard
to eat raw. All this because they
were given these new things without any directions of how to use them.
After the initial waste of flour and the government troops noticing
white piles all over the plains or
blowing about, directions were
supplied and it didn't take long from there to learn how to use it.
Since then bread has become a basic part of every Indian meal.
Yeast bread, is the preferred bread,
but fried bread is much easier to
make and to keep. With the reservations being as crowded as they
were, it didn't leave much of a area to place bread so that the dough
could rise...ya know what...its still sadly much the same today in some
cases. Someone wrote once, there was a old woman who use to wrap
her dough in her coat to protect it. However, one time she forgot
about it...and the dough kept rising until the arms of her coat literally
filled up making the coat look alive. Of course,
natives always with a sense of humor, once the family found out about
this it made for some funny camp fire stories throughout the people of
the ...Coat that was Alive...
Here is a recipe for Indian fried bread the old way...and I will also
include a newer recipe from the
Navajo. No "traditional"
Indian meal is complete without a big pile of fried bread even though
our ancestors never tasted any of it and didn't know about flour.
At pow-wows and other Indian
celebrations there are as many booths for
selling fried bread as there are hot dog stands at a country
Some families earn their travel money to go from one pow-wow to the next
by selling fried bread. Just hang out a big cardboard sign
"FRIED BREAD" and your good to go. Quite often you cant
it fast enough to keep up with the demand and a second sign is soon
to be seen "SOLD OUT".
Sprinkle a little cinnamon or
powder sugar and you just cant seem to stop at one. Ask me...I
INDIAN FRIED BREAD
The ingredients for the basic old fried bread is as follows:
3 cups of flour...preferably not dumped out on the ground first...giggle
1 teaspoon of baking powder
a dash of salt
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then move them to one side
before adding any water to
the mix. Add enough water to make it
into a stiff dough, and kneed it well. Heat some lard or good
cooking oil in a fry pan and add the dough, shape into flat four inch
patties. Fry till brown, flip and do
the same to the other side.
Server plain or with jam.
NAVAJO FRIED BREAD WITH ELDERBERRY HONEY
One of the most distinctive breads of the Navajo, popular in other
southwestern cultures as well.
The honey can be flavored with any berry.
Makes about 18
5 cups of all purpose flour
4 tsp. of baking powder
2 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. coriander seeds, coarsely crushed in mortar with pestle
1/4 cup of sunflower seed oil or corn oil
2 TBSP. of honey
2 cups... approx. of water
Sunflower seed oil for frying
Sift first 3 ingredients into a large bowl.
Mix 1/4 cup of oil and honey.
Add enough water to form a soft, non sticky dough.
Form into a ball.
Cover with a damp towel and let rest for at least 30 minutes. (can be
prepared 8 hrs ahead)
Cover tightly with plastic.
Heat two inches of oil in a heavy large skillet to 370 degrees F to 390
Using floured hands, pinch off a two inch dough ball.
Stretch into 6 inch diameter round, making the center very thin.
Gently add dough round to oil.
Cook until golden and puffed, about 2 minutes per side.
Drain on paper towels.
Repeat with remaining dough..
Serve warm at room temperature with honey.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 lb of raw honey
1/2 cup of elderberry, blueberry, cranberry, or raspberry syrup, jelly
Stir honey and syrup in heave medium saucepan over low heat 10 minutes
to blend flavors.
Ladle into warm jars.
Store in refrigerator.
STYLE FRIED YEAST BREAD
There are two ways of doing this although the results are about the
same. They both taste very good especially when served with jam
and hot chocolate on a cold winter day. If you normally make
regular yeast dough simply raid your pile of risen dough for enough to
fry up and eat. As a kid this was a nice treat that mom use to
make for us as part of her regular baking day of goodies. It kept
us out of the way as the more complex baking was done and we could help
with doing some of the baking later.
The ingredients for making
fried yeast bread are as follows:
1 cup of lukewarm water
1 pkg of yeast
2TBSP of soft butter or shortening (mom used Shortening-Crisco)
1 TBSP of sugar
1 tsp. of salt
4 cups of flour (which she always sifted with a ole sifter), that was my
job that I had fun with.
Put the first two ingredients into a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes or
so. Add the rest of the
ingredients except for the flour, of which
you only add 21/2 cups to start with. Stir this in thoroughly,
then add the rest of the flour until it is just firm enough to handle.
Kneed this mixture well and then
let it rise for about 1 hour. (I
love to punch that dough ball...worked out a lot of frustrations...from
what ...who knows but I had fun). Heat your grease or oil in a
frying pan and drop in pieces of your ready dough, and deep fry it.
Watch out the grease really has to be hot.
Sometimes I'm told, you can use the finished pieces the way Mexicans
use tortillas: open them up
and put in a mixture of cooked beans,
shredded cheese, and vegetables.
At this point I will alternate from Old plains cooking to something more
in the now of things.
Just to give you a idea of how it was *THEN
and how it is *NOW...wink
Dried meat, or jerky, is made simply by cutting fresh meat into slabs
and hanging it up to dry.
In the summertime this becomes
difficult because of flies, so it is safer to *smoke-dry the meat.
Not only does it dry more quickly over smoke, and without being spoiled
by the flies, but it adds
a really nice smoked flavor to the meat which
is often preferred.
Our ancestors use to do this in their tipi's
and if you have a old one lying around this is a way to put
it too great
use. Prepare the meat first the day before by soaking it overnight
in a solution of 1/2 cup
of coarse salt for every gallon and a half of
water, making sure the salt is dissolved before putting
the meat in. The next morning drain the meat, and wash or rinse it in clear water and
sprinkle it with pepper.
Then hang it over many strings which you
will tie inside the tipe from the poles, from one side to the
make a make shift rack...believe it or not the old wooden clothes racks
work nice, place at shoulder height. After you hang the meat, start
a fire in the fire pit and tend till a really good bed of deep coals are
Now, here is the trick, pile on *green wood--poplar is a
good choice as it will smolder and not burn...
do not use any sap like
green wood such as pine...close the tipi and leave or your eyes will
in a different setting throw a old blanket or piece of canvas
over the fire enclosing it...you will need
a sort of tripod for this or
squared rack, be sure its closed up as tightly as possible...its really
as much work as it seems and once you have your racks made its quiet
Smoke it like this for about 3 days...not bad if on a
camping trip...turning it over on the rack or string
on the second day.
Check every now and again to of course make sure your only smoking the
and not burning it because the wood has caught on.
Now believe it
or not...after you have done this...the meat will keep for many years
Jerky is a nice snack type of treat.
2 cups of sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp. of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of salt
2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of salad oil
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of mashed yams or sweet potatoes. Sift flower, baking
powder, sugar, salt into a bowl.
Pour oil and milk into a measuring cup
but do not stir. Add to yams and blend well. Add to flour
mixture an mix lightly with a fork until mixture holds together.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface
and knead gently until smooth,
about a dozen kneading strokes. Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick
and cut into rounds with floured biscuit cutter. Place rounds on a
Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-20 minutes. Serve
hot or split when cold and toast.
Makes 18--3 inch cakes.
There is a saying among the natives...it goes..."MY HEART IS
FULL"...now, this usually meant
they felt joy or love about
something...however, if they loved "STUFFED HEART" for
all set and will soon be ready to eat...wink.
There is also a joke...another saying among the Mohawk is..."IF A
MOHAWK WOULD ASK YOU
TO DINNER...BE CAREFUL...DINNER MAYBE
YOU"...so you might want to check what's on the menu...giggle.
This was favored among many of the hunters.No part of the animal
was ever wasted.So this
recipe is for elk and moose.Although
there were deer and bird recipes for this, an I will get to one
immediately after this one.
**Some tribal traditions require upon the killing of a animal,
the heart is to be buried to honor the kill and the animals
gifting of it's life so we may eat.
Elk and Moose heart can make a family dinner and this recipe is best for
1 Fresh Elk or Moose heart
1/8lb of melted butter
1 small onion chopped...wild onion if you can find it.
1 stalk celery
1 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper
Clean the heart out really well and cut away the insides and chop them
to add with the rest of the mixture.Melt your butter, and sauté'
the onion, celery, and meat pieces. Add bread crumbs ,
pepper and stuff the heart with this mixture. Put it in a roaster
and add one cup of water
approx.Cook at 325 degrees for 3hours or
1 Fresh heart
1 TABLESPOON of salt
4 TABLESPOON of flour
1/4 tsp of pepper
3 TABLESPOONS of fat drippings
2 sticks each of carrot and celery
1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
Wash the heart thoroughly and soak it in salt water for at least a hour.
Make sure it is completely covered. Rinse
the heart thoroughly afterward, and dry it with a towel.
into half-inch slices and dredge these in seasoned flour. Melt the
drippings and sauté' the
slices until they are lightly browned.
Add water to cover and let it cook like this for a hour, then
vegetables. Add more water, if needed. Just before serving
add some of the seasoned
flour to make a gravy. Serve with
2cups of flour
1 egg beaten
Sift together flour and salt. Cut in shortening and butter.
Stir in egg with cold water. Shape dough into ball.
Chill at least 30min.
Roll out. Makes one double pie crust.
1 1/2 lbs of ground pork
1/2 tsp of cloves
1/2 ground beef
1 clove garlic minced
2 med. onion minced
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbls. salt
3/4 cup of water
1/2 tsp. pepper
Combine ingredients and brown in large skillet.
Do not overcook...drain fat.
Make upper and lower crust for two pies.
Fill with meat filling...Bake at 400 degrees...for 10mins.
Then reduce heat to 350degrees...and bake for 40mins. more.
Eat warm as is or drizzle on your favorite gravy on top of individual
I, personally, do soooooo love this meat pie...unfortunately, I'm not
sure why, but families would only seem to make this during the holiday
season of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Our grandmothers had two easy ways of cooking ribs right over a open
fire...fish was cooked this
way too...in fact so were a lot of things
like corn on the cobs (HUSK STILL ON)...(CLAMS)...I'm
away...back to the recipe for ribs.
After eating the corn off...the cobs would be dried and later used in a
fire for heat etc.
Think BIG...get a whole side of ribs. with stick of "green
wood", spear through it like you would a
BB-Q spit...then stick one
end of this into the ground close to the fire, so the heat from the fire
right into the ribs...needless to say...make this a sturdy piece of
green wood...and simply turn now
and again for even cooking.
TOO ROAST THEM THE OTHER WAY...
Cut into individual portions for each person.
Get a really good bed of coals going.
Then pile green wood on top...I always have to warn here...Don't use a
pitch/resin type of wood like evergreens, pine, or birch...ash works
well or maple slightly dampened too.
Now, lay the individual ribs portions on the top of the green wood, so
they can cook from the heat of
the coals and smoke...
If the flames start to rise...simply sprinkle the fire and wood with a
bit of water.
You can also lay a nice piece of old canvas over the top letting air
flow slightly underneath it to keep
the coals going.
FOR COOKING WILD GAME MEAT
P.S. Here is just a note of interest for you when cooking wild
First of all, there is little fat to game meat that has been dressed out
well...soooooo, you always need some butter or some form of grease to
Also...With game meat...low, slow, heat or flames...work best.
For those of you who don't like the thought of a gamey flavor to your
meat, as some complain about it...this is a surefire way to eliminate
that each and every time.
Soak or cook the meat in some lemon juice with some light brown
sugar...you will never get the gamey taste this way
a Indian meal without some form of Corn... So here goes:
CORNMEAL - FRIED FISH
Preparation time 5 minutes.
Cooking time...5 to ten minutes per batch
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. powdered bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 lbs. fish fillets (firm white fish...I love SMELTS)
1/2 CUP (APPROX.) PEANUT OIL, or corn oil for frying
Stir together flour , cornmeal, cayenne pepper, black pepper, bay leaves
Place dry ingredients on large flat plate or waxed paper.
Dip fish fillets in flour mixture and shake off the excess.
Transfer floured fillets to a clean plate.
In large skillet...(I use cast iron) heat enough oil to cover the bottom
of the frying pan with a bit extra...
Fry fish in batches not overcrowding them, turning once until golden
brown on both sides.
The more you fry the more oil you will need to aid but...don't add new
oil to fish that hasn't heated up yet...make sure its has had time to
heat before adding fish.
Drain on paper towels...place on plate and keep warm in oven until all
the fish is cooked.
Now here is another variation...instead of flour...I sometimes will use
a couple eggs lightly beaten to
dip the fish fillets into first...then
into the corn meal...before frying...either way...they really are very
very good...I can make a meal out of just these and often have.
MAPLE CORN BREAD
1 cup plus 2 TABLESPOONS cornmeal
1 cup plus 2 TABLESPOONS whole wheat flour
1 TABLESPOON baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup...now here is when living near Vermont where they
harvest the maple for
syrup is a real bonus.
3/4 cup of milk
3 TABLESPOONS melted shortening...(mom always liked her Crisco)
In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, wheat flour, baking powder,
Add the egg, maple syrup, milk and shortening.
Stir until WELL blended; DO NOT BEAT
Pour into a well greased 9 inch square pan or 12 greased muffin cups.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Serve with warm butter.
Serves...6 - 8
LAWDY HOW I DO LOVE MY TROUT...
4 dressed whole trout (about 10 ounces each)...some nice brownies
or brookies... yeaaah
2 cups of fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons of salt, preferably coarse sea salt
4 TABLESPOONS vegetable oil...I like peanut oil
4 strips of bacon
Rinse trout and dry well. Brush each with some of the
vegetable oil. Mash the fresh mint along
with the salt in a mortar
with pestal to release the intensity of the mint; or, use a food
Add what's left of the vegetable oil and mix well.
Spread the mint mixture ON THE INSIDE of the trout: wrap each with a
strip of bacon.
Grill over hot coals, 4 to 6 inches from heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
Turn the trout careful and repeat cooking time...until the trout flakes
nicely with a fork.
IS A NICE STEW
HOPI CORN STEW
1 8oz. white or yellow nibblet corn
(fresh or frozen is always best)
1 cup roast beef or ground beef, chopped
1 TBSP. shortening
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of zucchini squash, cubed
2 cups plus 2 TBSP. water
2 TBSP cornmeal
Heat shortening in a large heavy skillet (cast iron is nice)
Brown meat and add salt and pepper to taste
Add squash, corn and 2 cups of water; simmer about 30 minutes, or until
vegetables are almost
In a cup stir together cornmeal and 2 TBSP. water to make a paste.Stir thickener into stew; stir
gently about 5 minutes to prevent
Makes 4 servings
Instead of roast beef...VENISON can be substituted...
and I've added some light cream to this mixture in place of the water.
or Buffalo Beef Chili
2lb. course ground lean meat-(venison or beef burger)
2lb. of chopped lean meat-(sausage)
2 cups of coarse chopped onion
2lg. garlic cloves minced
2Tablespoons of chili powder
1Tablespoon of salt
2Tablespoons of pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2Tablespoons of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 6oz. can of tomato paste
1 12 oz can of Italian style tomato sauce
18ozs. of water
8 slices bacon chopped
1 can drained pinto or kidney beans
Render fat slowly from bacon and add onions and cook until they are just
beginning to turn clear. Add, garlic and cook until you begin to
smell it. Add the meat cook until tan not brown (brown makes the
meat tough and reduces the flavor). Add all wet ingredients and
then the dry ingredients. Cook on low heat simmering for several
hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to bottom of pan.
Add 1/4 cup of sugar to your favorite corn bread mixins and cook as
normal. And your favorite cheese.
Note: Brown sugar takes the gamey taste from any meat. This will keep
well in the freezer.
hope you have enjoyed this section...I'm sure some of you curled a
lip or two at reading
this, however, the more modern
recipes are, trust me...very good and worth trying.
There are of course many more recipes but, I've devoted
enough space here to this section as it is.