Recipe by Chef Doug Hyndford
Story by Jenni Lessard
Chef Doug Hyndford from Peepeekisis Cree Nation holds a red seal certification and is a certified chef de cuisine. He’s worked at hotels, wineries, restaurants, and remote exploration sites.
Lately, he’s taken to sewing his own chef coats and churning his own butter.
It’s no surprise, then, that one of his signature dishes is as interesting as his career and hobbies!
As Director of Hospitality at Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon, SK, on Treaty Six Territory, Doug oversees all aspects of the culinary program, including the newly refurbished restaurant and meeting rooms, school tours and special events.
That could seem like a daunting responsibility, but Doug takes it all in stride, building menus that incorporate ingredients that grow in the Opimihaw Valley, on which the interpretive centre sits.
Wanuskewin has been a gathering spot of Indigenous peoples from across the Northern Plains for over 6,000 years. Bison were an important part of the diet for every group who inhabited the land. The meat was thinly sliced and smoked to provide sustenance throughout the long winters.
Today, Doug uses bison jerky to add protein, smokiness and texture to the wild rice salad that can be found on his restaurant and catering menus.
Fresh or dried berries give colour, Vitamin C and fibre. A citrus, maple and canola oil vinaigrette is the finishing touch. Doug uses cold-pressed canola oil for its golden colour and light but rich flavour and to ensure the dish is heart-healthy.
Yet another level of complex flavour and body in the dish comes from wild rice, a traditional Indigenous ingredient that’s now an industry that contributes in a meaningful way to First Nations and Métis economies.
Doug likes to switch out ingredients depending what’s seasonal and available. Smoked fish or tofu could be used instead of bison in this recipe and any variety of berries could be used instead of the Saskatoons.
Let your inner chef shine once your salad is complete and plate it with pizzaz, like Doug!
The salad keeps for several days and can be served warm or cold.
Wild rice was originally grown and harvested in Northern Ontario lakes by the Ojibwe people. It is a staple food that is also used in traditional medicine and rituals. Wild rice was first introduced to the Northern Lakes of Saskatchewan in the 1960s. Since then, Saskatchewan has become the largest producer of wild rice. Experience wild rice’s nutty flavour yourself in this light, fragrant Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette.
Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
- In small bowl toss blueberries with honey, and place berries on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 225 °F (110 °C) for 2 hours or until berries are dried and pliable.
- In a large pot, add wild rice, salt and 4 cups (1L) water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the grains have split open 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and return the rice to the pot. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and let rice cool.
- Meanwhile in small bowl whisk together the canola oil, syrup, vinegar, zest and lemon juice until well blended; set aside.
- Combine rice, dried berries, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, green onions with maple vinaigrette. Top with dried bison or beef jerky if using.