January 21, 2012

Native American Cuisine

America's indigenous people, and the foods they grew, hunted, and gathered, have not only shaped modern American food, but also cuisines all over the world. Here you'll find dishes that were enjoyed by the Native Americans, as well as modern recipes using these American ingredients.

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Pumpkin Seed Granola

Granola is amazingly simple to make, and significantly cheaper than those "gourmet" varieties sold at the local health food store. This granola recipe features pumpkin seeds, which are an indigenous American food.

Makes About 3 Cups Pumpkin Seed Granola

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup shredded raw coconut


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, vegetable oil, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly until everything is completely coated with the sugar syrup mixture.

Pour mixture on to a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat, or use a non-stick cookie sheet. Spread evenly and place into the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. When the time is up, remove the pan and use a fork stir the mixture thoroughly. Even out the mixture again and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Repeat this procedure every 15 minute for about an hour, or until the mixture is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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Fresh Sweet Corn Fritters

This easy sweet corn fritter recipe is a great way to enjoy summer's bounty of fresh corn. These corn fritters can be a snack, or a tasty side dish for barbecued meats.

Makes 4 Servings of Sweet Corn Fritters


  • 2 large ears fresh sweet corn (or 1 packed cup of thawed, drained, frozen corn)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Peanut oil for frying (may substitute canola)


Over a large bowl, using a sharp knife, carefully shave the corn kernels off the cob. With the back of the knife, scrap the milky juice from the cob into the bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk into the corn until thoroughly combined. In another bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Pour into the bowl of the corn mixture, and stir with a spatula to form a thick batter.

Pour oil about 3/4-inch deep into a heavy-duty skillet. Over med-high heat, bring oil to 375°F. When oil is hot, drop rounded tablespoons of batter carefully into the oil. Don’t crowd, the fritters should not touch each other. Best done in two batches. Cook about 3 minutes on each side, until the corn fritters are golden brown. Drain on paper towels or wire rack. Salt if desired, and serve corn fritters immediately.


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Buffalo Meatloaf

Most large supermarkets now sell ground bison or buffalo meat. This very healthy alternative to beef has 50% less cholesterol, and contains none of the hormones, and antibiotics that cattle sometimes receive. It's also delicious, and makes a great meatloaf recipe. The sautéed mushrooms gives this meatloaf a great flavor and moist texture.

Makes 8 Portions of Buffalo Meatloaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes


  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 10 large white mushrooms, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumb
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 pounds ground bison/buffalo meat
  • For the Glaze:
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar


Prep the onions and mushrooms with a knife, or in a food processor. Add to a large sauté pan with the butter and oil, and cook on med-high heat, for about 10 minutes, until the moisture from the mushrooms is evaporated, and the mixture is lightly browned. Add to a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Add all the remaining ingredients, except the meat, and mix well. Add the meat and mix gently until combined. Do not over-mix.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. - Lightly grease the bottom of a shallow roasting pan with a few drops of oil. Wet your hands with cold water and form the meatloaf mixture into a loaf shape, about 6 inches wide, by about 3 to 4 inches high.


Pickled Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes make a great pickled vegetable, and can be used as a garnish for all kinds of sandwiches. This recipe is adapted from one by Iron Chef Michael Symon, which he made during the 2009 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, to serve with a pork belly BTL.

This pickled green tomato recipe featured a sweet, sour, and mildly spicy brine that pairs perfectly with the firm, tart tomatoes.

Makes 1 Quart Jar Pickled Green Tomatoes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves garlic
  • 2 cups cider vinegar, plus 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound green tomatoes, quartered, or enough to fill the jar almost to the top
  • 1 quart-size canning jar with lid, washed thoroughly, rinsed, dried


Combine the pepper flakes, bay leaf, coriander, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, garlic, vinegar, honey, salt, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Slice the tomatoes into quarters and pack into the clean jar. Pour the warm liquid over the tomatoes stopping 1/2 inch from the top. Slide a clean spoon around the inside of each jar to remove any air bubbles. Make sure the tomatoes are pushed below the pickling liquid.

Screw the lid on firmly and refrigerate. The pickled green tomatoes will be ready to enjoy in about 3 months.

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