Aboriginal Recipes

Chef David Wolfman, Metepenagiag Lodge, Metepenagiag Mi'kmaq Nation near Red Bank, New Brunswick

Provided by Barbara Bartibogue of Esgenoôpetitj (Burnt Church) First Nation, our aboriginal recipes are a culinary insight to the customs and culture of the aboriginal people who’ve called this land home for thousands of years. Try these traditional recipes to experience a unique aspect of New Brunswick’s First Nations culture.

  • Bannock (Camp Style)

    2½ cups (625 ml) all-purpose flour  
    5 tsp. (25 ml) baking powder    
    ½ tsp. (3 ml) salt
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) sugar
    3 tbsp. (45 ml) lard
    1 cup (250 ml) water
    1 egg, optional

    Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a clean pail (bowl). Add lard. Rub in to form fine crumbs. If using an egg, combine with water. Add to flour mixture. Stir to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth, about 10 seconds.

    Lightly grease a heavy cast-iron skillet with lard and dust with flour. Place half of the dough in the pan. Heat pan over live coals for five minutes. Raise pan to 1½ feet above coals. Bake for 5 - 10 minutes longer or until underside is lightly brown and crusty. Turn and bake on the other side for about 10 - 12 minutes. Bake remaining dough as above. Options: bake 30 minutes, or deep fry until brown. Yield: Two bannocks or 6 to 8 servings.

  • Bannock (Oven Baked)

    4 cups (1 L) all purpose flour
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) baking powder
    1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
    3 cups (750 ml) water
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) shortening

    Mix all dry ingredients together along with the shortening. Gradually add water until mixture becomes doughy. You can have it with an elasticity consistency or hard enough to fold. Pour into a prepared bread pan (9½ in x 13 in) which has been greased with 2 tbsp. (30 ml) vegetable oil.

    Cook at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 40 to 45 minutes.

    You may want to lather it with margarine after baking to prevent the bread from becoming too hard or brittle. When done, remove from pan and allow to cool before serving with your favourite meal.

  • Bannock (Pan Fried)

    3 cups (750 ml) all-purpose flour
    1½ tbsp. (23 ml) baking powder
    ½ tsp. (3 ml) salt
    2 cups (500 ml) water
    2 tbsp. to 4 tbsp. (30 ml to 60 ml) vegetable oil or shortening

    Mix all dry ingredients together and gradually add water until mixture becomes doughy. You can have it with an elasticity consistency or hard enough to fold. Pour into a prepared cast iron frying pan with 2 tbsp. (30 ml) vegetable oil. Make a hole in the centre of the dough after it is in the frying pan to create a vent for the steam to escape to give it an overall browning.

    Cook at medium heat on the stovetop for approximately 10 minutes in a frying pan. Turn over and cook for another 10 minutes. Before turning the dough, make sure that the pan has enough shortening or vegetable oil. Check every five minutes to prevent burning. Remove and allow to cool before serving with your favourite meal.

  • Blueberry Cobbler

    2 cups (500 ml) blueberries, or more
    4 tsp. (20 ml) sugar   
    1 cup (250 ml) flour     
    1 tsp. (5 ml) baking powder             
    ½ tsp. (3 ml) salt    
    1 egg, well beaten
    ¼ cup (60 ml) milk
    ½ tsp. (3 ml) vanilla
    2 tsp. (10 ml) butter
    ½ cup (125 ml) sugar

    Cover a baking dish with blueberries and sprinkle with sugar. Sift remaining dry ingredients in a bowl and add egg, milk, vanilla and melted butter, stirring just enough to combine. Spread batter over blueberries and bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 40 minutes. Invert on a plate and serve with cream or lemon sauce.

  • Lobster Gravy

    Leftover lobster makes good comfort food with mashed potatoes and peas.

    1 to 2 cups (250 ml to 500 ml) of cooked lobster meat
    1 large yellow onion, quartered
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) corn starch or flour
    2½ cups (625 ml) water
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Sauté lobster meat, onion and garlic in butter for 1 minute. Add water to cover meat and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer. Make thickening with ½ cup (125 ml) water and 1 tbsp. (15 ml) corn starch until gravy consistency. Serve with mashed potatoes and peas.

  • Mint Tea

    Steep evergreen mint (nice green leaves with red berries) found in wooded areas. These mint leaves and berries are also handy when there is no water around. Eat as is. Great for chlorophyll, vitamin C and makes saliva when you are thirsty and there is no water around.

  • Moose Steak and Noodles

    ½ lb. (0.25 kg) round moose steak cut in serving pieces    
    3 tbsp. (45 ml) shortening   
    1 cup (250 ml) water     
    ½ cup (125 ml) celery, finely chopped
    1 - 5-ounce (140 g) pkg. noodles
    2 large onions
    ½ cup (125 ml) tomato ketchup
    Seasoning

    Fry steak lightly in hot fat. Add onions and cook slowly. Add water, ketchup, celery and noodles, which have been previously boiled and drained. Let simmer for one hour. Serve hot. Add seasoning just before serving.

  • Spiced Venison Roast

    5 pounds (2.25 kg) venison roast   
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) cinnamon    
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) ginger    
    2 tbsp. (30 ml) sugar    
    2 bay leaves    
    1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
    1 tbsp. (15 ml) vinegar
    2 cups (500 ml) tomato juice
    2 onions, chopped
    ½ tsp. (3 ml) pepper

    Brown roast. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over roast. Cover and cook at 350°F (180°C) for 3 hours, or until done. Serves 8.

  • Steamed potatoes

    6 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into chunks
    6 strips bacon, crumble
    1 yellow onion, quartered
    1½ cup (375 ml) water
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Peel potatoes and slice them into a bowl with water. Heat a cast iron pan on medium to high heat and fry 6 strips of bacon until crisp. Add diced onion and cook until translucent. Add potatoes and water and cook until potatoes make a sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Variation: add 1 to 1½ cups (250 ml to 375 ml) of frozen vegetables.

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