Exclusive Recipe by Chef David Wolfman

First Nations Chef David Wolfman is an internationally recognized expert in traditional Indigenous cuisine; a Culinary Arts Professor at George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, Canada; a cooking television show Executive Producer and Host; and co-author of the award-winning cookbook, Cooking with the Wolfman: Indigenous Fusion. Chef Wolfman is also a culinary consultant and sells his own line of culinary knives.

Peppery Alder Catkin and Hazelnut-Encrusted Elk Rack

Makes 4 servings (2 ribs each)
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground peppery alder catkins, divided
1 tsp (5 mL) sumac, divided
1 tbsp (15 mL) Labrador tea leaves, chopped fine, divided
1 tsp (5 mL) coarse sea salt, divided
½ tsp (2.5 mL) ground black peppercorns, divided
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, divided
1 rack (2.5 lbs/1.14 kg) elk, frenched, boned, and cut in two (4 ribs each)
1 cup (250 mL) hazelnuts, chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) prepared mustard
2 tsp (10 mL) maple syrup
Optional: Fresh chopped parsley for garnish


1. Prepare a dry rub using half of each of ground peppery alder catkins, sumac, Labrador tea leaves, salt, and black pepper. Rub the mixture over the elk meat and let stand for 1–2 hours in the fridge.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

3. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil in a cast iron pan over high heat. Sear first piece of meat on all sides until nicely browned. Remove meat from heat and set aside. Add remaining olive oil and brown the second piece of meat. Remove pan from heat.

4. In a small bowl, combine the hazelnuts, the remainder of the peppery alder catkins, Labrador tea leaves, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

5. In another small bowl, combine the mustard with the maple syrup and mix well. Use a pastry brush to coat all the meat evenly with the mustard mix.

6. Use your hands to pack the hazelnut mixture over the mustard mix.

7. Transfer meat to a casserole dish and bake for 20–25 minutes (for medium rare).

8. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with parsley, if using.

Pan-fried Hominy Corn

Ingredients – Makes 4 servings
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) zucchini, diced
2 cups (500 mL) canned hominy corn, drained
½ tsp (2.5 mL) annatto powder
½ tsp (2.5 mL) chili powder
½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) melted butter


1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a saucepan.
2. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes
4. Add the drained hominy corn, annatto powder, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Pour in the butter just before serving.

Spruce Tip Pickled Squash and Quince

Ingredients – Makes 4 servings
½ cup (120 mL) white vinegar
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) dried chili flakes
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
¾ cup (180 mL) diced squash (¼ inch/6 mm cubes)
½ cup (120 mL) diced quince (¼ inch/6 mm cubes)
4-6 spruce tips


1. In a saucepan, heat the vinegar over low heat. Add sugar, chili flakes, and salt. Remove pan from heat once sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool.
2. Combine the squash, quince, and spruce tips in a medium bowl. Stir in the vinegar mixture and let stand in the fridge for 3–4 hours or overnight.
3. Remove and discard spruce tips.
4. Strain squash and quince before serving.

Wild Mushroom Demi-Glaze

Ingredients – Makes 4 servings
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) dried sweet fern
1 cup (250 mL) hedgehog mushrooms, sliced, divided
1 cup (250 mL) black trumpet mushrooms, sliced, divided
1 cup (250 mL) golden chanterelle mushrooms, sliced, divided
¼ cup (60 mL) bold, red wine
6 cups (1.5 L) beef stock
½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) black pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, divided

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
2. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the rosemary, oregano, and sweet fern and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add 3/4 cup (177 mL) of each of the mushrooms to the pan. Reserve remaining mushrooms.
5. Add red wine and reduce by half (about 5 minutes).
6. Add the beef stock, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over low heat for 1– 1 ½ hours.
7. Strain the sauce with a fine strainer and place in a small saucepan and reduce down to 1 cup (250 mL).
8. In a frying pan, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter and sauté the remaining mushrooms.
9. Combine the sautéed mushrooms to the sauce and bring back to a simmer.
10. Adjust taste with salt and pepper. Add the remaining butter just before serving.

Garlic Roasted Sunchokes

Ingredients – Makes 4 servings
1¼ lb (0.7 kg) sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes)
½ tsp (2.5 mL) lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh oregano, chopped
½ tsp (2.5 mL) kosher salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper
½ tsp (2.5 mL) lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Wash and scrub sunchokes. Slice sunchokes in half lengthwise.
3. Combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and mix well. Toss sunchokes in mixture.
4. Bake sunchokes on a baking sheet for 30–40 minutes.
5. Sprinkle lemon zest on top just before serving.

Deep-fried Caribou Lichen

Ingredients – Makes 4 servings
2 cups (500 mL) water
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
4 small pieces of Caribou lichen
½ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt

1. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a saucepan. Let cool in a bowl.
2. Add lichen to the mixture and let stand for 2 hours or longer to remove the acidic flavor.
3. Drain lichen on paper towel to dry thoroughly (for at least 2 hours), shaking off all excess water.
4. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Deep fry lichen one piece at a time for 30–45 seconds or until slightly brown. Drain oil from lichen on paper towel.
5. Season with salt and serve as a garnish.