North·The Arctic Kitchen

Here's what northerners are cooking up to stave off the quarantine blues

With these recipes, self-isolation just got a little easier.

Self-isolation is a lot better with delicious homemade food

Dinner is served. (©NWT Archives/Rene Fumoleau /N-1995-002)

Whether it's baking from boredom, practising pancakes or stir-frying in self-isolation, northerners sure know how to let their taste buds take advantage of some time at home.

On a special episode of CBC's Northwind, callers from across the North shared their favourite self-isolation recipes — food that nourishes the body and the spirit in trying times.

Here are some of the delicious recipes we'll be trying this weekend.

Homemade Rabbit Stew

Ruth in Inuvik, N.W.T., grew up watching her mother and grandparents prepare rabbit stew, but she said hers is a bit different.

"This recipe is in many homes now," she said.

The recipe uses wild-caught rabbit, which is abundant in Inuvik.

"You don't have to eat pork or ham or beef," she said. "Our meat is right in our backyard."

"Use it, use it wisely," she said, "and if you can't use it, bring it to me."

Method

Begin by cutting the fur off your rabbit. If you don't know how, ask your grandma. Or give Ruth a call.

Once you have the meat, fry it up in a stew pot in about one tablespoon of lard until it's brown and sizzling.

Add in some diced vegetables. Ruth uses two carrots, two celery stalks, one whole onion, and six garlic cloves. Fry these together with the rabbit for 5-10 minutes or until the veggies feel right.

Then, pour in a full can of diced tomatoes — Ruth likes the spicy kind.

Season to taste, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours — "until you can see meat falling off the bone."

"The tomatoes will come out with a really nice, sweet sauce," Ruth said. "Oh, it's so delicious!"

She likes to finish it up with a pinch of hot chili spice.

"You can serve it on hot rice or noodles, or you can just eat it like that," she said.

And if you don't have luck catching rabbit, she said you can do it with ptarmigan too!

Mind the grill. Two women cook up something good at the 1986 Dene National Assembly in Łutselk'e. (©NWT Archives/Rene Fumoleau/N-1995-002)

Hakuna Frittata

Need to feed a family with something quick and easy? Sarah in Yellowknife suggested this frittata recipe so good it had her 3-year-old daughter singing its praises.

"She loved it so much, she was running around the house singing 'Hakuna Frittata,'" she said.

"It's really easy — all you need is a pan that can go in the oven."

Method:

Start by cutting up four to five potatoes. Put them in a small amount of water or broth and get them cooking in the pan.

Once those are done, Sarah adds a ¼ cup of olive oil, an onion, and any other vegetables you have around and like with your eggs.

Let that cook for three to four minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together a bunch of eggs with some salt and pepper and grated cheese. You'll want enough to fill your pan — Sarah used "eight or nine" for her nine-inch cast iron skillet.

Pour that mixture into the pan and pop it in the oven under the broiler.

"It's really good if you put some more cheese on top," she said.

When it looks good, take it out of the oven and — tada! — food for a hungry family.

Whitefish like these from Hay River make for a tasty snack, especially when turned into a delicious fish cake. (We Are The Best)

Homemade Fish Pie

This recipe comes from Alan in Aklavik, N.W.T., where the fish are fresh and plentiful. It's a recipe you can make as easily at the campsite as you can in the kitchen.

"It's something that everybody enjoys eating," Alan said.

Method:

Get some fresh whitefish or coney. Boil and remove the bones.

Mix in some onion soup mix, season with back eddy spice, crumble some crackers and add some rice to hold it all together.

Shape into patties and fry. Delicious!

Quick Pumpkin Bread

Jared in Yellowknife offered this recipe for a quick, simple, and delicious pumpkin bread.

The key, Jared said, is the spice mixture.

"Sweetening is great, but it only goes so far as the spices that accompany it," he said.

Method:

Combine in a blender one small can of pure pumpkin, three eggs, and 1 cup oil (butter or lard work too).

Add in 250g of brown sugar (white works in a pinch) and your spice mixture. Jared's special combo is 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 inches fresh ginger, a bit of fresh nutmeg, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 1 tsp vanilla.

"You can get pre-ground nutmeg, [and] it'll do in a pinch, but it's not the same as freshly ground," he said. "That smell, the aroma — it makes me excited just thinking about it."

Blend that mixture until nicely combined. Then, pour into a bowl containing 300g flour.

"You want to make sure you don't overmix the wet ingredients and the flour, because that will … make a denser dough," he said. Just stir until the streaks of flour disappear.

Add in 1 bar of semi-sweet bakers chocolate, roughly chopped.

Pour into a greased pan, and bake at 325 C for 70-75 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

This pumpkin bread will wow your friends at the office — if you ever go back! (Jared Monkman)

Written by John Last, based on a call-in produced by Kate Kyle and hosted by Wanda McLeod

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