Original LocalRecipe from the new book

Original Local

Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest

by Heid E. Erdrich

$19.95, paperback

Available from your favorite bookseller and from mnhs.org.

Black and Blue Bison Stew with Tea-infused Biscuit Dough

Serves 8–10

I need no excuse to make savory berry dishes: the combination of tart, deeply colored berries with other intense flavors seem natural to me. Cooked in a cast-iron Dutch oven, this rich stew turns as black as the night once was on the North Dakota prairie. Of all the foods I created for this cookbook, this dish has been the most favored. Enjoy it and imagine a time beyond the glow of energy development when (who knows?) the bison return to help restore the prairies.

2 teaspoons sunflower oil

5 green onions, chopped

2 teaspoons juniper berries, crushed

2 pounds bison roast, cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free substitute)

1 cup chopped sunchokes (4–6 knobs)

1 1/2 cups frozen wild blueberries or Juneberries, or substitute regular blueberries

1 tablespoon dried wild mint, or substitute dried mint

2 1/2 cups hot water


1 recipe Tea-infused Biscuit dough (below)

melted butter, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven or other large oven-safe pot with a lid, warm oil over medium heat and cook onions and juniper until onions begin to soften. Coat bison with flour, then add to the pot and brown meat on both sides. When meat is browned, add sunchokes and cook 5 minutes. Add berries, mint, and water. Cook 30 minutes or until stew becomes bubbly and thick. Season with salt to taste. Top stew with biscuit dough, place lid over pot or brush with butter, and place in hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until biscuits are fluffy, golden, and cooked through, testing doneness with a wooden pick.

Tea-infused Biscuits

Makes 1 dozen small biscuits

Is a biscuit a small version of gullet bread, or is bannik bread a huge biscuit? Either way, these quick breads are favorites of cooks in Indian Country. We’ve souped them up and tea-d them off by adding some wild herbs. Use this recipe raw to top Black and Blue Bison Stew.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon maple sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1 bag sage and white mint tea, or 1 teaspoon each dried sage and dried mint

1/4 cup half-and-half or light cream

3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients, and cut in butter with two forks or a pastry blender until mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in contents of tea bag. Stir in half-and-half and buttermilk. Work the dough with your fingers until coarse chunks of butter show and a coarse dough forms. Sprinkle flour on a work surface, and roll out the dough to a round about 6 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Use a knife to cut the dough into “puzzle pieces” without removing the pieces. Slide biscuits onto a cookie sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Serve hot from the oven.

Events and news!