Local Foodways: Recipes
Below are some local recipes for some traditional dishes from the Turtle Mountains.
Galette - Bannock
Li Galette (Bannock bread)
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups cold water
Knead 5 to 8 minutes
Roll 1/2 thick
Bake at 375° F until done
Li Galette is a heavy, unleavened bread commonly eaten by Ojibwe and Metis families of the Turtle Mountain Band. It is delicious slathered in butter and served with soups and stews. Also great with jam and jelly!
1 Rabbit/Duck/etc. cut-up
4 cups chicken stock
Brown meat in oil. Add chicken stock. Let simmer for one hour.
In Saute Pan, saute:
1 stick butter
1 diced onion
3 diced carrots
4 stalks diced celery or any other veggies you want
Saute for about five minutes. Set aside.
In frying pan make your roux:
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. flour
1 stick of butter
In frying pan melt butter, add flour over medium high heat. Mix until mixture looks like dough. Slowly add milk or cream stirring rapidly. Cook until mixture is same texture, add more liquid, continue until thickness desired. You are looking for what is called a "blond" roux. Take off stove and set aside.
Add 3 cut up potatoes and put everything into a dutch oven. Stir until well blended and simmer on medium-low heat for about 40 minutes.
Wiisnaboo (Tripe and Hominy Soup)
5 quarts of water
2 pounds of processed tripe
7 cups of hominy
½ string of prairie turnips (cut up) or 6 large potatoes (cubed)
Chopped Onion (if desired)
Salt and pepper to taste
If using prairie turnips, boil turnips in the water for 3 hours, then add tripe and boil for an additional hour before adding hominy and salt and pepper (to taste) and cooking for another hour.
If using potatoes, boil tripe in water for 1 hour, then add hominy, potatoes, salt and pepper (to taste) and boil for another hour.
This traditional food was a favorite during long buffalo hunts. Corn (hominy) and onions were carried with during the hunt, and the rest of the ingredients (tripe and prairie turnips) were found entirely on the prairies. It was a hearty dinner that could feed dozens of hungry hunters and their families.
During processing of a killed buffalo, once the organs were removed, the stomachs (there are 4) of the buffalo would be removed, washed, cleaned, and cut into small pieces for cooking.
Today, most tripe used for making wiisnaboo is not buffalo, but comes from cows and can be found in most stores and butcher shops.
Don't be afraid of this wonderful and delicious soup. Many pow wows also serve it as a traditional meal, or you can buy it from vendors who serve traditional foods. This is a great way to try it out for yourself before making it.
Lii Boulettes (Meatballs)
2 lbs lean hamburger
2 medium onions diced
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
2 tbsp flour
4 potatoes (cut up)
Mix hamburger, onions and flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter. Place in pot of boiling water with potatoes for about 1 hour.
This hearty soup is usually enjoyed at New Years as a feast meal for family and visitors alike.
Li Bangs (Frybread) [recipe can be double if needed]
2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet yeast
1 cup water
Combine yeast and warm water to activate, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Combine dry ingredients and add half the activated yeast, then mix. Add small amounts of the yeast until the mixture forms a dough-like consistency.
Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and roll out the dough.
You can pull off pieces of dough and hand-press into shape, or else roll out and cut into shape (about 3" to 4" in size).
Place into oil and fry until golden brown.
Almost everyone has their own recipe for frybread and you might find a new recipe that suits you better if you talk to elders and relatives.
Frybread can be enjoyed with a variety of meals.
Boudain (Blood Sausage)
2 1⁄2 quarts of stock
2 lbs pork shoulder
5 cups chopped onions
2 tbs ground red pepper
1 tbs minced garlic, plus
1 1⁄2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbs salt
1⁄4 lb fresh liver
7 cups freshly cooked rice
1⁄2 cup minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 1⁄2 cups fresh pork blood
Combine pork stock with the pork shoulder, onions, red pepper, minced garlic, and salt in a dutch oven. Bring to a boil; continue boiling for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Soak the casings in cool water about 5 minutes, an hour before stuffing.
Transfer cooked meat to a bowl to cool, leaving the pot with the boiling stock over high heat and add the liver to the pot and cook about 3 minutes. Then take liver and all the cooked meat, grind the meat and fat in a meat grinder. Combine ground meat with the cooked rice and add parsley, garlic powder, 1 cup of the reserved stock. While the mixture is still hot, fill the casings and make links.
Place stuffed sausages into pan, cover with 2 cups stock. Heat over high heat until water reaches 180F (just below a simmer, keeping at that temperature to prevent the sausages from bursting) and continue cooking until the sausage is heated through and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes.
Michif Foodways: An Elder Remembers
Our people ate mostly wild game and berries that grow in the local area. They grew gardens; they ate ducks, geese, grouse, partridge, muskrats, beaver, gray squirrels, porcupines, raccoon, deer, rabbits, and etcetera.
In the summer ducks were the main meat that was served, because they were eaten fresh. There were ducks in the lakes and sloughs, people would go and shoot ducks cook them up. They were either boiled with salt pork, or you could make soup with them. The soup was usually “rababoo”, which is an oatmeal soup, but sometimes they used rice or macaroni. The ducks were also roasted and sometimes stuffed. They also fried, the duck after it was boiled.
Partridge, goose, grouse, muskrats, beaver, raccoon, porcupine, squirrels were usually roasted. Deer was roasted or fried in bacon grease. Deer meat was also canned in quart jars and saved for hard-times, or for summer time when fresh meat was not available. It the winter there were ice boxes to keep meat. Also in the winter, rabbits could be snared and deer could also be hunted.
Summer was kind of a bad time for fresh meat because it spoiled without electricity and a fridge. Also, you really couldn’t hunt in the summertime except for ducks. In the spring, fish were caught when they were spawning and the fish was smoked. In the summer people also caught fish to eat. The heads of the northern were boiled and used to make rice soup. Also in the spring, “poul do” (mud hen) eggs were gathered and eaten.
Morel mushrooms were gathered in the spring of the year. They were dried for later use if they were plentiful. People made gardens and canned the vegetables, and they picked berries and made sauce with them. The berries were also dried to cook later. Juneberry pie is one of our traditional foods.
Berry sauces were sometimes eaten with cream, and you dipped your bread in the sauce. Some of the sauces, such as Juneberry sauce were used for pies. The berries were boiled and canned in quart jars so when it was time for pie you just opened a jar of berries, put them in a dipper on the stove, and heated them to a boil. You could thicken the berries with either corn starch or flour, then make the pie.
Meat pies were also made. If there was left over meat from a meal, which wasn’t that often, you could always stretch it and use what was leftover for a pie. Store bread was a treat for our people if you had money. Since we didn’t usually, everyone had homemade bread, gullet, biscuits, loaf bread, bangs, “gullet di vaen”—which was gullet made from yeast bread—and buns. Canned meats such as hams, potted meat, corned beef, corned beef hash, and canned chicken were sometimes eaten if you could buy it. Since we didn’t have electricity, we couldn’t store meat, so canned was easier if fresh wasn’t available.
Buying fresh meat from town didn’t happen often except in the summertime. Hamburger we probably got once a month. Ham wasn’t so for the summer if you could afford it, because a person could buy a ham and keep it a couple of days if it was kept cool.
A lot of our foods were boiled. My grandpa use to make boiling beef and potatoes. They would also boil ham and potatoes. Some people also raised chickens and butchered them when they needed to.
Another source of meat was tripe—great for soup. There was a slaughter house about 1½ to 2 miles south of Rolla and our people use to get tripe from there. They also got ox tails and made ox tail soup. If a pig was butchered, they would hang the pig and take all the blood to make blood sausage.
Boullets, bangs, and pie—mostly juneberry pie—and “la puchin” (boiled pudding) were the traditional New Years foods.
When you went to visit somewhere, you were always fed. It didn’t matter where you went to visit, you were given hot coffee or tea, and a lunch. Sometimes lunch was just sauce and cream with bread, bread and jelly, or pie.
People sometimes went out to the prairie to look for “le na voo” which was wild turnips, which are great in soup.
Another thing that was (and still is) a snack with our people is what some called “round-and-round” which is peanut butter and syrup mixed. Most people used Karo syrup. It was bought in gallon pails.
Armour lard was used to fry bangs. Sometimes, if we couldn’t afford to buy it, we used rendered lard made from pork fat that was melted. The fat that wouldn’t melt was used to make gwar-toons (cracklings). Almost everyone made jams and jellies from fruit and berries that were picked locally. You could also make syrup from the berries.
Homemade michif ice cream was made from snow during the winter—a real treat. A person used snow, evaporated milk, sugar, and vanilla to make the ice cream. It was not really ice cream, but was rather a nice mix that kind of had the texture of ice cream. The good thing was that if you put too much liquid in the snow, or if the snow got too runny, you could add more snow to thicken it up.
A remembrance by Sandra Houle, Elder.
Sandra Rose Houle was born on November 13, 1959 in Belcourt, ND to Sam Ferris and Ida Swain. She was lovingly raised by her mother and Oscar Houle. Sandra was raised in Belcourt and completed her education there as well, before attending college.
Sandra was united in marriage to Edward Houle on October 9, 1978 in Bottineau, ND. Together they had three children, Corbet, Eric, and Lane.
Sandra worked as a teacher throughout the years teaching the Michif language to many children and adults in schools, college, and privately throughout the Turtle Mountain area. She was currently working with others on a book to teach the language.
Sandra enjoyed listening to “old time” music, beading, sewing, and guitar. She loved time spent with her family members, especially her grandchildren, and time with her friends.
Sandra will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed.
Sandra Rose Houle: November 13, 1959 - July 21, 2020