North·The Arctic Kitchen

This Tłı̨chǫ woman's homemade caribou stew is 'essential'

Caribou Stew is served this week in The Arctic Kitchen.

'I've learned how to cook by observing, practicing and watching other cooks,' says Darla Rabesca

Darla Rabesca learned to make this mouth-watering stew by observing her mother and elders as they cooked over fires and in kitchens. (Submitted by Darla Rabesca)

The importance of getting food from the land in Canada's North can't be understated.

It's cultural, traditional and delicious.

Just ask Darla Rabesca of Whati, N.W.T.

"As a Tłı̨chǫ woman, cooking traditional food is essential in our way of life," she said to CBC on Facebook messenger.

Rabesca has been cooking traditional food for a long time, and says she started by paying close attention to her mother and elders.

"I've learned how to cook by observing, practicing and watching other cooks," she said.

"Growing up, I would watch my mom cook over the fire or in the kitchen and how she would put ingredients together and what worked and didn't work," she added.

She says some Tłı̨chǫ women are highly skilled when cooking on the land.

"I've noticed some elderly ladies cooking over the fire without any measurements … they just cook by memory, which is amazing."

Rabesca says caribou meat is perfect for stew because it's so flavourful and tender. (Submitted by Darla Rabesca)

One of those essential meals she learned to make is caribou stew.

"Caribou meat tastes amazing," she says.

A perfect pairing

Rabesca loves the texture and flavour of caribou meat compared to beef and chicken in stews.

"The meat is … tender and [with] the taste of the other ingredients and knowing it's made from scratch is the best!" she said with excitement.

What makes it even better?


"I think when you're cooking a homemade caribou stew, bannock is important," Rabesca said.

"When you have bannock with butter, it makes everything taste better," she added.

Rabesca says bannock is perfect to have with stew. Especially when it's covered in butter. (Submitted by Darla Rabesca)

Rabesca has her own version of caribou stew and she shared pics and the recipe in CBC North's Facebook group, The Arctic Kitchen.

"Can I steal a bowl?" said one member of the group.

"Definitely soul food," commented another.

The amount of feedback and positivity blew Rebesca away.

"I was completely amazed, but truly grateful," she said.

If you want to try Rabesca's full recipe, you can find it here.