Appetites: Book highlights history and local connection to manoomin

Tashia Hart's new book "The Good Berry Cookbook."
Tashia Hart's new book "The Good Berry Cookbook."
Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society Press

Updated: Friday, 10:54 a.m. | Posted: Wednesday, 3 p.m.

Tashia Hart is an ethnobotanist, writer and cook whose new book “The Good Berry Cookbook” dives into the story of manoomin — wild rice — the "good berry" that first drew the Anishinaabeg people to the Great Lakes region in search of the prophesied food that grows on water. 

Tashia's inspiration started at a young age. She is Red Laake Anishinaaabe and grew up with a father who fishes, hunts and harvests, a mom who cherishes plants, and a grandmother who made a life as a cook and baker. 

Her focus on foraging and embracing the northland's flora has produced recipes like bison and sunchoke quick stew and sweet potato corn pudding with rose sauce. And “The Good Berry Cookbook” not only offers up simple preparation guidelines for home but brings together other Native chefs and cooks to share their favorite recipes.

Wild rice stuffed squash

Serves 6-10

Ingredients

  • 3-4 winter squash

  • 4 tablespoons butter 

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 celery heart, chopped

  • 3-4 fresh sage leaves, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups wild rice

  • 4 cups broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • 1 cup dried sour cherries

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on baking sheets and roast in oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large pot, melt butter, then add onions, celery, sage and salt and cook, stirring often. When onions become translucent, add wild rice, broth and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Drain any excess liquid. Stir in pecans and cherries.

Once squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop out additional flesh to form a channel for stuffing, leaving ½ inch of flesh in place. Fill both halves of each squash with stuffing and place cut sides together. Tie with kitchen string if desired.

Arrange stuffed squash in a baking dish, surrounding them with excess squash and remaining stuffing, if desired. Just before serving, reheat at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Slice into half moons to serve.

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