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The culture of the Cree of Eeyou Istchee abounds with treasures that are alive and well thanks to oral tradition. Among them is traditional cuisine which deeply connects nature and humans. Due to their nomadic way of life, Cree cuisine is sourced mainly from hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering.

The cookbook Northern flavours is an invitation to come visit and savour the bounty of this vast region. Here is a sneak peek into Cree culinary traditions and creative dishes by Stéphane Modat, the chef at Château Frontenac inspired by First Nations’ traditions.

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Pike-egg bannock & smoked salmon​

Serves: 3     Prep: 25 min     Cook for: 15 min

 

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 4 cups (1 litre) 3.25% milk
  • 1⁄2 tbsp (7.5 ml) dry baker's yeast
  • 1 egg (yolk and white separate)
  • 2⁄3 cup (150 ml) flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) salt butter (for cooking)
  • Pike-egg
  • Smoked salmon nuggets
  • Wild shoots

 

PREPARATION

1. Preheat the oven at 180 °C (350 °F).

2. Make the dough. Place yeast in lukewarm milk. Let stand 10 minutes.

3. Add egg yolk and mix.

4. In a salad bowl, pour flour and salt, creating a fountain.

5. Pour milk in two steps and stir until smooth.

6. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes.

7. Whisk egg whites and fold into the mix.

8. In a non-stick pan, place butter and the mix and cook for 2 minutes over low heat, then place in the oven for 6 minutes.

9. Turn it over and cook for 5 minutes.

10. Remove from the oven and place a knob of butter on top and let the butter melt.

11. Garnish with pike eggs and fine slices of smoked salmon.

12. Add some wild shoots as a finishing touch and enjoy it.

 

Stuffed trout with potato salad and wild herbs

Serves: 4     Prep: 25 min     Cook for: 30 min

 

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1 good-sized trout
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) young fir sprouts, chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) immature juniper berries, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Wet string

Potato salad

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) salt butter
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • Sea plantain
  • Sea parsley
  • Wild cowpea
  • 1 garlic clove
 

PREPARATION

1. Prepare the fish: gut it and garnish with a mix of fir shoots and immature juniper berries. Salt and pepper, then close with string. Set the fish aside.

2. Prepare the filling: in a large iron skillet, heat oil and butter and cook potatoes without letting them brown.

3. Add some chopped immature juniper berries.

4. When the potatoes are tender, set aside to cool.

5. Fry the fish in the same skillet in the remaining oil-and-butter mixture for 6 or 7 minutes or according to size.

6. Complete the potato side dish by adding wild herb (rinsed and dried).

7. Mix together and transfer to a serving dish and place the fish on top.

8. Serve immediately to friends.

It's hard to write about northern flavours without talking about our friends from the Far North. The Inuit have developed unique recipes inspired by extreme weather. In partnership with Nunavik Tourism, we have decided to share a traditional recipe of the Inuit of Hudson Bay that survived through the ages!

Fried bannock

Serves: 4     Prep: 10 min     Cook for: 2 to 4 min

 

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tbsp (7.5 ml) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar
  • Vegetable oil

PREPARATION

1. Heat an inch of vegetable oil in a saucepan (to about 185 °C (365 °F) or until the oil starts to ripple and quiver slightly).

2. In a bowl, combine the following ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

3. Slowly add a cup of water to this dry mixture and mix gently until a sticky dough is formed.

4. The Inuit of the Hudson Bay then stretch this dough into a long, thick rope. They fry it in oil for 2 to 4 minutes to make a spiral loaf. When it is golden brown, they take it out of the oil and drain any excess oil on a paper towel before serving it with jam.​