On the third Monday of every February, Manitobans now have a new civic holiday! This civic holiday compares to what most of the other Canadians provinces call their family day. Manitobans deemed it appropriate to put in a place a holiday where we could celebrate a personal hero of ours; Louis Riel, by calling it, Louis Riel day.
So you might ask yourself, who is this Louis Riel guy anyway? Well here's a few interesting facts about him and what he did for Manitoba.
- He was the leader of the Métis leader of the Red River Resistance between the years of 1869-70. During this time played a big part in the drafting of the Manitoba Act. This in turn brought the province of Manitoba into Canadian confederation.
- Many statues have been erected all over Manitoba in his honor, including a walkway bridge named Esplanade Riel.
He was and still is an important figure in Manitoba's history. So let's go back in time and look over a very important staple food of the time; the "Bannock". This very simple bread is usually leavened with baking powder. It can be baked, pan fried or even deep fried on occasions; although the most traditional way was to prop it on sticks by the fire. There is nothing better then to fry up some bison sausage in a cast iron skillet on the campfire and then bake the "galette" (bannock) in the grease left behind by the sausages. Truly something that needs to be experienced for one's own life experience!
Here is a delicious recipe for Bannock! Enjoy!
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1\2 tsp baking powder
- 1\2 tsp salt
- 1\4 cup shortening or butter
- 1 1\4 cup of warm water
- Mix all dry ingredients (flour, BP and salt) in a large bowl and create well in center.
- Place the chosen fat (shortening or butter) and water in the center of the well.
- Blend mixture with your hands and divide dough into two balls. Roll balls into 1 centimeter thick flat breads.
- Fry in cast iron skillet over fire if possible. If not possible, frying it with a little fat (oil or butter) in a regular skillet pan work too.
Best way to eat this delicious staple food is with butter, cheese or strawberry jam!
If you are feeling adventurous, you could even try adding some raisins to the bannock batter in smaller portions and frying up the batter in a little bit more fat to create more of a dumpling type dessert. Either way, this is a very versatile recipe which can be easily adapted to your needs; as a bread, or dessert.
Happy Louis Riel Day!
Eat well, sleep well and till tomorrow!