Wisconsin DNR Feature: Seed-To-Table With Wild Bearies

Photo Credit: Amy Lynn Creative

A trained chef and member of Ho-Chunk Nation, Elena Terry’s drive to feed others came from a childhood spent in the garden. Now, she is the founder and executive chef for Wild Bearies, a nonprofit seed-to-table company serving Indigenous cuisine.

“My grandmother taught us how to cook, and I always admired watching her,” Terry said. “I am a wild game specialist and butcher because of the knowledge given to me by my family.”

To bring Terry’s soul-warming cuisine into your own home, try the recipe below:

Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked wild rice
2 delicata squash (or any other similar squash such as acorn, butternut, honeynut, etc.)
1½ tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
½ teaspoon sage, chiffonade
1 tablespoon pepita or sunflower seeds, chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Cook wild rice according to package instructions. Optional: Substitute chicken or turkey stock in place of water for additional flavor.
  2. Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Discard seeds or reserve to roast and use as a salad topping or snack.
  4. Place squash on baking sheet and brush flesh side with olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes with flesh side down. Remove from oven and flip using a fork. Bake for 5-15 more minutes or until slightly caramelized and fork tender.
  6. While the squash bakes, dice onion, mince garlic and chop cranberries.
  7. In a pan, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Add ground turkey and cook until browned. Add onion and garlic.
  8. Sautee until onion is translucent and turkey is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Remove turkey mixture from heat. Add cranberries, sage, and wild rice.
  10. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool until comfortable to touch.
  11. With a spoon, gently remove the squash pulp, keeping the shells to refill. Add squash to turkey mixture and gently combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Refill squash shells and place back in the oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.
  13. Place pepita or sunflower seeds in a small pan over medium low heat. Stir continuously until slightly roasted.
  14. Top squash with a sprinkle of toasted seeds and a light drizzle of maple syrup.

Learn more about Chef Elena Terry in this article from the fall issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine.