Native Cooking

Time of the Cracking Trees

 

Last updated 3/15/2014 at 1:36pm



Gezandami Nidobak (Dear Friends),

It is the time of the cracking trees, I can hear them right now. There will be major cleanup this year. As you all know, the big push is on food sustainability and nutrition for ourselves and our children. Many nations have started active programs which we will see even more of this year.

My most recent interest has been in the “food not lawns” idea. It is so sensible, organic and doable, you can save money as well as eat healthier for a few months. All that energy you spend mowing and raking can be put to better use.

Your own vegetables can save a few trips to the market and taste better, too. We still have some frozen corn from last year and some butternut to use up. Then if you hunt, there may be some fine dinners in the back of your freezer too. That would still be better than genetically modified food which traveled hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles to your big box Stop&Spend market.

It may seem too early to talk about gardening but not really. It takes a lot of planning first and it is not too soon. Here where I live we can plant peas outside on Saint Patrick’s Day or start tomatoes inside before then.

There are many, probably hundreds of books on the subject yet I found one I go back to time and again, “Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden”. This Hidatsa woman had incredible wisdom which she used to raise huge crops of corn, beans and squash in North Dakota. Saved seeds of heritage vegetables for your region are a good bet. However, I digress. This recipe for Native Cassoulet is perfect for a late winter-early spring weekend and can use up some of that meat you have left from adventures of the fall.


NATIVE CASSOULET

2 pounds of Great Northern beans, soaked and picked over. Cook slowly and set aside

1 4 to 5 pound duck, cooked, deboned and cut up

1 pound venison, elk, moose or wild boar (or ½-lb.of each)

4 medium yellow onions, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

4 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons fresh mince thyme

12 peppercorns or dried juniper berries

6 bay leaves

6 cups of game or beef stock

Brown the meats in a heavy dutch oven. You can use some of the duck fat with vegetable oil. Remove the seared meat and brown the onion, adding the carrots as well. Remove from pan and put aside with beans and seared meat. Add tomato paste to pan and the broth to stir into a smooth sauce.


Now put the meat, beans, onions and carrots PLUS herbs into a large slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, reduce to low for 4 more hours. Check often.

Note: you can add any other meat you wish for variety (chicken, pork, rabbit, etc.)

 
 

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