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Traditonal Bentwood Box Cooking

Step 1 - Acquire a 50L-70L Red Cedar Bentwood Box, a pair of traditional fire tongs, and a cedar brush. Step 2 - Gather Volcanic Basalt Rocks, smoked salmon, root vegetables, and water. Step 3 - Build a circular fire pit about three inches deep and a yard wide. Step 4 - Layer the fire pit with kindling and place about 30 fist sized Volcanic Basalt rocks on top of the kindling. Then build a fire as per usual on top of the rocks. Step 5 - Once the fire is burning ensure that the fire covers all the stones to ensure they heat evenly. Heat rocks until red. (Approx. 90-120 min) Step 6 – Place quartered potatoes and smoked salmon into Bentwood box with 15-20 Liters of fresh water. Step 7 – Using traditional ironwood tongs remove red hot stones, one by one, from the fire and brush with a boom made of cedar branches. This is done to get the ash and grit off the rock. Then place the red hot clean rock into the bentwood box. Step 8 – Repeat Step 7 until there are 3-4 rocks in the box, then put the lid on the box. Step 9 – Every few minutes take the lid off the box and pull up the oldest stone in the box. Listen to hear if the rock is hissing if it is not hissing then it is cold, so place it back in the fire and repeat step 7. If the stone is still hissing then it is still hot and place it back in the box. Step 10 - Repeat Step 9 until potatoes are cook through. (Approx. 120 mins) Ensure that no more than 5 stones are in the box at a time and the lid is kept on as often as possible, Check potatoes periodically to see if they are done
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Opening the pit

Traditional Pit Cooked Salmon

Step 1 - Dig a two foot deep three foot round hole in the ground, ensure that the ground is soft sandy clay. Step 2 - Place about 25 fist sized stones in the freshly dug hole Step 3 - Light a fire in the pit big enough that it fills the hole and gradually add another 25 fist sized rocks to the burning fire. Step 4 - After burning the fire for 2-3 hours take out all the remaining wood debris and place a thick layer (6"-8") of leafy green over the hot rocks. Step 5 - Place the salmon, shellfish, and vegetables, wrapped in seaweed or skunk cabbage leaves, into the pit on top of the leaf layer. Step 6 - Cover with another thick layer of leaves followed by a good 4"-6" layer of soil over top to cap it off. Step 7 - Wait for 3 to 4 hours Step 8 - Dig away the soil and leave, remove the salmon, clams, and carrots and enjoy.
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Moose Stew

Moose Stew

Every fall my brother goes moose hunting with his friends.  When they bring back a moose, my family looks forward to a delicious bowl of his moose stew.  Here is his recipe. Cut moose meat into cubes (about 1 inch square).  Add a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper to the cup of flour.  Then coat the meat cubes with the flour and shake off any excess.  Heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large frying pan and add the meat cubes (the meat should sizzle when it touches the pan).  Fry the meat just until is brown on all sides and remove to a large pot with a lid. Brown the meat in batches of about 8-10 cubes at a time (if there is too much meat in the pan the meat will just steam instead of brown).  Afterwards, use the same frying pan with residue from browning left on the bottom, to fry the chopped onion and garlic.  Fry at low heat so the onion and garlic don’t burn. Add the onion and garlic to the pot with the meat. Add enough liquid to the pot to just cover the meat.  For the liquid, homemade moose broth or chicken broth adds good flavour.  If you don’t have this, bought beef or chicken broth works well.  Add a ½ cup of whole tomatoes for a bit of tangy taste if you like.  Simmer at low-medium heat, with the lid on, on the stovetop (or in a 325 degree oven if you have an oven-proof pot).  Cook for at least 1 hour or until the meat is tender enough that a fork goes into it easily. Add the chopped vegetables and cook for another 30 minutes or longer, until the vegetables are tender. Near the end of cooking, mix about 3 of tablespoons of flour or gravy browning into a cup of cold water and mix until it is like a thin paste.  Add this mixture to the stew pot and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the stew has thick gravy.  Another way to thicken the stew is to fry 3 tablespoons of flour in 3 tablespoons of oil until golden-brown.  Whisk in some soup stock, a little at a time until you have a smooth paste and add this to the pot, cooking until the stew is thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy! -        Photo by Tracy Ruta Fuchs
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Wildrice & Blueberry Pancakes

Wild Rice & Blueberry Pancakes

Pancakes can be really great breakfast to share with friends and family.  I like to impress my friends by stuffing my pancakes with delicious and healthy indigenous foods. My favourite fillings are from Anishinaabe country blueberries and wildrice, and if your lucky some hand-harvested maple syrup drizzled on top. Mix eggs and sugar with a whisk for 30 seconds in a medium bowl. Add milk and vanilla stir until combined. Grind oats in a blender or food processor until it’s the same texture as flour. If you don’t have a way grinding just replace half the oats with flour. Whisk together the oats, flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir the milk and egg mixture into the oats and flour mixture. Don’t over mix just enough to get the batter wet. Fold in melted butter with a spatula, then fold in blue berries and cooked wildrice. Heat a griddle or flat pan over medium heat until hot.  Preheating the pan prevent the pancakes from sticking. To test the pan put a small drop of water, it should sizzle and dance on the pan. Ladle on a quarter cup of batter for each pancake. Let pancake cook until bubbles stop popping in the center of the pancake, about three minutes. Check the bottom of the pancake that it is a golden colour. Adjust heat up slightly if it is still pale and down if it looks to black. Flip pancakes and cook for about a minute. Pancakes can be kept in a warm oven or enjoyed with your favourite toppings. Serves 4-6 people.
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