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We'd love to take you right to some YUMMY recipes, but first, here's a bit about Métis Foods!
Buffalo Meat
Buffalo meat was the main item of the Métis diet and lifestyle during the fur trade years. They also ate fish, antelope, moose, elk, rabbits, grouse, ducks and geese. They picked berries and stored them in skin containers. Wild turnip was peeled and dried then pounded into flour. Many herbs were gathered for flavoring and medicinal purposes. Métis people utilized most of the same food goods as settlers. They used flour, sugar, and other ingredients available from trading posts.
One food product that was an adaptation of a traditional Scottish bread and Indian fry bread was bannock Métis once again combined their two cultures and produced a product that was very popular because of its portability on the trail, ease in cooking, and ability to last a long time. This fast bread was cooked outdoors in a skillet over an open fire. It was very filling and became a staple dietary item of the fur trade. Some Métis called it 'gallette'. Bannock traditionally is cooked outdoors, but many Métis today bake it or fry it in a pan in hot oil. It is delicious with raisins baked in the bread or eaten with jam. Many Elders today still eat bannock and lard sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Pemmican was the staple backbone of the fur trade. Nations warred with one another over the Pemmican trade. Métis people became the main sellers of this food and their lengthy buffalo hunts and lifestyle surrounded this trade. The Métis Nation's gross national product from the creation of pemmican was larger than both the United States and Canada during this period in history.
Pemmican was made by cutting buffalo meat into long thin strips that were hung to dry by the sun on racks made of willow. In later years the meat was dried with a small fire burning under the rack, which was tended by the old women and children. When the meat was dry it was pounded into a granular powder and put into hide bags. Hot buffalo fat was poured into the powder and mixed. The bags were then sewn shut and pressed into flat bundles and left to cool. Sometimes wild berries were added to give it flavor. It was nourishing, filling, highly nutritious and easy to transport on the trail. It kept for years without spoiling.
Métis Hospitality
The Métis planted gardens and raised livestock for food in their settlements. Extra wild meat was always shared and borrowing of staple food products was a common practice. It is said that the introduction of electricity and freezers disrupted the communal lifestyle of the Métis Hoarding of food was unnatural, not practical and unheard of.
Métis homes are well known for a pot of soup simmering on the stove and a pot of tea ready for family and visitors. No one visit's a Métis home without being offered hospitality.
Famous Métis Soups and Other Foods
Métis soups have survived throughout the years. Besides being a time-honored comfort food for their families, Métis soup can heal, and prevent many illnesses by putting all kinds of nutritious foods in a single pot.
Some different soups are:
La Rubaboo Métis Soup (Rhubarb Soup)
Soupe au Pois Pea soup (Pea Soup)
Soupe au Bin Bean soup (Bean Soup)
Other foods:
La Gallette Bannock
Les Baigne Fried Bread
Les Boulettes Meatballs
Les Tortiere Meat Pie
Poutine au Sac Steamed Pudding
Le Flaon Custard
Crushed Chokecherries

Now for some yummy recipes!

Recipes Bannock
2 1/2 cups flour
6 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar (optional)
1/3 cup lard
2 eggs, optional
1 cup water or more

Combine first four ingredients. Add lard, rubbing it in to form fine crumbs. Combine egg with water (is using an egg), and add to the flour mixture. Stir to form a soft dough, and knead briefly.

If using a frying pan, grease the pan then dust with flour. Place about a quarter of the dough in the pan and heat. Bake until the bottom is lightly brown, then flip. Bake about 10 minutes on the opposite side. Bake remaining dough in similar fashion.

If baking in oven, pat down into greased pie plate. Bake in 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes, or until cooked in the middle.

Recipes Crushed Chokecherries
Crush chokecherries with a stone (or a meat grinder).
Dry on canvas. Cover with cheesecloth.
Place in plastic bag until ready to use.
Some people enjoy adding Saskatoon berries to the chokecherry mixture!

Recipes Les Boulettes
2 pounds lean ground beef
Medium onion chopped fine
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup flour to mix into the meat to hold together

Mix well, roll into 2-3 inch balls and roll in the flour again. Put in a quart of boiling water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and let simmer gently for one hour.

Recipes Pemmican
4 cups dried meat - depending on how lean it is, it can take 1 - 2 lbs. per cup. Use only deer, moose, caribou, or beef (not pork or bear). Get it as lean as possible and double ground from your butcher if you don't have a meat grinder. Spread it out very thinly in cookie sheets and dry at 180° overnight or until crispy and sinewy. Regrind or somehow break it into almost a powder.
3 cups dried fruit - to taste mix currents, dates, apricots, dried apples. Grind some and leave some lumpy for texture.
2 cups rendered fat - use only beef fat. Cut into chunks and heat over the stove over medium (or Tallow) heat. Tallow is the liquid and can be poured off and strained.
Unsalted nuts to taste and a shot of honey.

Combine in a bowl and hand mix. Double bag into four portions. The mixture will last for quite a while without refrigeration. It actually improves with age.

HINT: Vary the fat content to the temperature in which it will be consumed. Less for summer. Lots for winter.

Recipes Rubaboo
Boil duck, rabbit, or goose. (A little salt pork and onions are nice).
With water still boiling, add a flour paste to thicken. Enjoy!


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