BISON + MANOOMIN LETTUCE WRAPS
These lettuce wraps are a quick, healthy, and fun way to incorporate traditional ingredients and flavors like bison, cranberry, sumac, and manoomin (wild rice) into everyday meals. They make a light but satisfying lunch or dinner, and are also great to serve as a shared appetizer! If you don’t have access to ground bison, this recipe is also delicious with ground turkey, or you could even substitute extra mushrooms to make this a completely vegan dish. Feel free to play with adding whatever herbs you may have available in addition to or in place of the parsley - fresh foraged spring herbs or herbs from the garden like basil, cilantro, mint or thyme would all be at home in this dish.
1 lb ground bison
8 oz mushrooms, chopped (baby portobello, shiitake, oyster, maitake, any sturdier type of wild mushroom will work)
1 cup reserved cooking water from the wild rice
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 cups cooked wild rice drained (about ⅔ cup uncooked rice, cooked according to package directions)
½ cup small diced jicama
½ cup small diced celery
½ cup chopped green onion or finely chopped wild onion (if available)
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup toasted Oklahoma pecans, rough chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground sumac
1 tbsp cooking oil (sunflower, avocado, canola, any oil suited to high temp cooking works just fine)
Little gem, butter, green leaf or romaine lettuce to use as lettuce cups
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the ground bison and saute, breaking meat into crumbles, until bison is cooked through and some browned bits stick to the pan. Add the mushrooms, cranberries, salt, pepper and sumac. Continue to cook, stirring frequently. When the mushrooms have softened, add the 1 cup of reserved wild rice cooking water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen up all the flavorful browned bits. Cook until almost all of the moisture has evaporated. Add the wild rice, jicama and celery, stir to combine. When the mixture has heated through, remove the pan from the heat and stir in pecans, parsley and green onion. To serve, spoon the bison and wild rice mixture into each lettuce leaf, eat them taco style!
Wild rice is known to the Anishinaabeg or Chippewa people as manoomin (ma-nō-min), the “good berry” or “good seed” in the Ojibwe language. A prophecy instructed the Anishinaabeg to travel from the East to seek a home “where the food grows on water." This food was Manoomin, and is considered a sacred gift to the Anishinaabeg, who are protectors and stewards of the resource. We purchase our manoomin from Red Lake Nation with the knowledge that their wild rice is grown and harvested on their own sovereign tribal lands.
We purchase our bison from Osage Nation Butcher House Meats, in an effort to support the tribal food sovereignty of our neighbors and relatives in the Osage Nation.