Cooking with the Wolfman: Indigenous Fusion (Douglas and McIntyre, 2017) by David Wolfman and Marlene Finn is a fusion of many things – not only bringing together classic cooking with Indigenous recipes, but combining personal reflections from the authors alongside diverse stories and practices of indigenous nations throughout the Americas.
Wolfman and Finn’s book has also been recently nominated for two awards: Finalist at the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the Cooking category, and Best Book of the Year category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Yantai, China.
The following excerpt is their Easy Deer Lasagna recipe.
Who doesn’t like to come home from work to the aroma of lasagna fresh out of the oven? When that happens, I’ve been known to fling my coat across the room, kick off my boots and dig in without a plate.
If you don’t have anyone to make lasagna for you, you can do it yourself easily enough by following this recipe and using “oven ready” noodles from the store, jarred marinara sauce and shredded cheese; that cuts out a lot of the work, so you could even double the batch to make two—put one in the freezer (and vacuum seal it for extended freezing time) for some night down the road. What I do is chill leftover lasagna in the fridge overnight, cut it up into several smaller portions and then vacuum seal and freeze them. The dandelion variation is for those of you who want a little extra fiber and nutrition.
• 1 1/3 pounds (600 grams) ground deer meat
• 1 cup (250 milliliters) medium-diced onion
• 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) minced garlic
• 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) kosher salt (or sea salt), divided
• 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) ground black pepper, divided
• 2 jars (22 fluid ounces/650 milliliters each) marinara sauce
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups (475 milliliters) ricotta cheese
• 3 cups (710 milliliters) grated mixed cheeses (mozzarella, Monterey jack, cheddar)
• 9 to 12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
2. Heat a Dutch oven over very low heat for 10 minutes. Add the oil. Raise the heat to medium and cook the meat until it loses its red color.
3. Add the onion, garlic and half the salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
4. Stir in the marinara sauce, rinsing the jars with a little water and adding it to the pot, and bring to a boil. Let sauce simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
5. Beat the eggs in a bowl and combine with the ricotta cheese. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper.
6. Ladle a third of the meat sauce into a 9-by-13 inch (23-by-33 centimeters) pan. Now, start the layering with 3 or 4 noodles, breaking some into smaller pieces if necessary, and slightly overlapping them. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then top with a third of the shredded cheese.
7. Still with me? Now add a second layer of noodles, then half of the remaining meat sauce, all of the remaining ricotta mixture, and half of the remaining shredded cheese.
8. Add a third layer of noodles, the remaining meat sauce and then the remaining shredded cheese.
9. Bake for 30 minutes, covered with a layer of parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil. Remove these coverings and continue baking for another 30 minutes. Check that the meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius). Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Dandelion Variation: Rinse 8 cups (2 liters) dandelion leaves and cook in a saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes (with no added water). Let cool, drain and squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. Chop dandelion and sprinkle it on top of the ricotta as you form the layers of the lasagna.
More from: Cooking with the Wolfman: Indigenous Fusion• Cooking Salt Alternative Recipe
• Celeriac and Apple Salad with Honey Vinaigrette Recipe
• Scalloped Rutabaga Recipe
• Gluten-Free Potato and Corn Bread Recipe
From the book Cooking with the Wolfman: Indigenous Fusion, by Chef David Wolfman and Marlene Finn, © 2017. Published by Douglas & McIntyre. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.