Recipes From the Everglades and Seminole Cooks

Updated on December 23, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty collects recipes from past generations among ethnic groups, the 13 Original Colonies, the American Civil War & the 19th century.

A Native North American family of long ago collects wild rice from their boat in 1915.
A Native North American family of long ago collects wild rice from their boat in 1915. | Source

Indigenous Florida

The Seminole Nation is traditionally from Florida and enjoyed many of the foods found naturally in the area.

One unique aspect of the Seminole community is that it was made up of different nations, especially Creek Nation, that welcomed Africans and the descendants of original Southern slaves into their group as well. This made for interesting fusion cuisine.

While many from this group were moved westward in in the 18th Century by the US Federal Government, about 50 stayed in Florida, just as a group of Acadians (aka Cajuns) had once stubbornly stayed in Nova Scotia before moving increasingly southward to New Orleans.

The Seminoles are the only Native North American group that historically never signed a peace treaty with the US Federal Government.

Source

The Remnant Is a Success

The remnant band of Seminole lived in the Everglades and defeated three times their number in US soldiers (1500+) that tried to roust them.The Seminole were determined to stay, and they did.

Today, descendants live with the Seminole Tribes of Florida or the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. One of the Florida tribes gained recognition in Cuba as well in 1959.

Interestingly, the Florida Tribe owns the entire chain of Hard Rock Cafes as of 2005. That's pretty good progress for the descendants of those few hundred that stayed behind. Their travel and tourism business is healthy as well. Traditional cuisine is a part of that success and cookbooks for Seminole recipes have sold well in recent years.

In 2000, over 27,000 people reported full or part Seminole heritage in Florida, with 6,000 in Oklahoma (per US Census). This number of these individuals has increased since that census period and will likely to continue to grow...

I hope you enjoy the recipes below.

Deaconess Harriet Bedell with a cypress-wood  sofkee spoon, with Doctor Tiger  in a Seminole camp in 1936.
Deaconess Harriet Bedell with a cypress-wood sofkee spoon, with Doctor Tiger in a Seminole camp in 1936. | Source

Safki - Meatless or With Meat

Safki or sofkee is a traditional dish enjoyed by Native Americans in the Southeast US.

Often, this dish was made with hominy and meat of some kind that was available. It was also made from wild rice when that was often hand picked by the cook and his or her family.

The safki spoon was special in these households and was used to partake of safki when visitors arrived, in a formal greeting of welcome.

A song about the safki spoon is performed by Lisa LaRue in the attached video. Please enjoy the recipe for it below.


Wild Rice Safki

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ Gallon salted water (I use spring water)
  • 2 Cups wild rice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Boil water and add in the rice and cornstarch for thickening and stir.
  • Boil and stir every few minutes for 12 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and add the baking soda.
  • Stir often and continue to cook until rice is tender and ready to serve, thick and tasty. You might wish to experiment by adding some of your favorite spices to this recipe.

Bacon-Hominy Safki

You can substitute any meat you like in this recipe, cut into small pieces, but you would need to add fat for other than pork. Some fish would be good in this dish as well.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 rashers (strips) of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cans canned hominy, drained
  • 3 or more green onions, chopped, with part of the green portions used
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Fry bacon pieces in a skillet until crisp.
  • Add hominy and spices and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in green onions and cook another 5 minutes, stirring, then serve.

Lisa LaRue - That Ol' Sofkee Spoon

Recipes and Traditional Ingredients

Sweet Potato/Pumpkin Biscuits

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium to large, any type of sweet potato or pumpkin
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 Cup whole milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425F (220C)
  • Wash, cook, and mash the sweet potato.
  • Put mashed potato into a mixing bowl and let sit.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
  • Using a large measuring cup, pour oil and milk and mix well.
  • Add oil and milk into the potatoes and mix.
  • Add the flour mixture carefully into the potato bowl, a little at a time and mixing well each time to form dough, not sticky.
  • Flour a bread board or a clean counter top and place dough on top of it.
  • Knead dough for 60 seconds and roll out to ¼” thick.
  • Use a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass rim to cut out biscuits.
  • Cooking spray a baking sheet and dust lightly with flour.
  • Place biscuits on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes or until done.
  • Serve with jam, jelly, syrup, and butter.

Source

You can prepare your own cornbread recipe and use it in the stuffing dish below.

Skillet Corn Stuffing

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 2 Large ribs celery, sliced thin.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Cups corn bread, well crumbled (you can also use corn bread stuffing mix and leave out the salt below)
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 Cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp each salt and sage
  • 2 tsp black or red pepper (red gives it a kick)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat , heat the bacon drippings; sauté the celery and onion until slightly soft.
  • Reduce heat to medium low. Add the corn bread, beaten eggs, chicken broth, spices, and mix. Especially if you are using dry corn bread stuffing mix, let the mixture heat thoroughly to absorb moisture and finish the eggs.
  • Toss the stuffing lightly with a fork and serve.

The Everglades and Florida Tribes

© 2009 Patty Inglish

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
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      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi, rebekahELLE! Florida is incredible. No other state has anything to match the Everglades. The more I learn of Florida, the more I like it. Thank you for visiting!

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Patty, I stumbled upon this hub after seeing you post in the forums. I checked your profile and saw this hub. I love these recipes. I want to try the rice and muffins. The video is beautiful. It's such an important and beautiful part of our lovely state.

    • profile image

      elmooobro' 6 years ago

      thaaaanksyou' for thaa' info :F

    • kafsoa profile image

      kafsoa 6 years ago

      Good hub and recipes;)

    • rembrandz profile image

      Remy Francis 7 years ago from Creative Zone Dubai

      Hello Patty

      What a whole lot of valuable information with these recipes. Kudos!! The fact about the Seminole tribe owning Hard Rock Cafe chain is very interesting news to me because have been a fan of Hard Rock Dubai as a resident there. Had no idea about its owners. Thanks for sharing

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 7 years ago from New York

      I am going to link my Everglades article to your recipe article. Perhaps you might like my article and would like to do the same. I understand this is a great way to bring traffic to one another's sites and more people can learn about the Everglades. I taught in Florida for a year and the fieldtrip across the Everglades in a hovercraft was most definitely a highlight for me.

      https://hubpages.com/travel/Southern-Florida---Eve...

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Great article. God Bless

    • artrush73 profile image

      artrush73 8 years ago

      Great article :) I would defiantly have to try your recipes. I love to experiment. thanks for sharing :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I think it is a pretty good one. Thanks for visiting!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I will have to try the rice recipe. Thanks.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      @Jerilee - You are so fortunate to have those recipes. They have been difficult to find over the years since I firt heard of them as a child, but a new book was published in 1987. I canlt get used to hominy, so I use corn. My father lived hominy from his farm days as a kid. Native Americans were pretty abundant in Eastern Ohio still at that time; he used to talk about them walking to town (Cambridge/Zanesville) from the rural areas.

      @Frieda - I'm always glad for your visits. The pumpkin biscuits are simply delicious.

      @fishinfreek2008 - I love chicken sandwiches. now I'm hungry too. Thanks for commenting!

      @maven101 - Greetings, friend! - Amazing what similarities different groups have experiences, huh? If my grand-dad that was French/mostly Mohawk have traveled as far South as to Louisiana, he might have become a modern Cajun :)

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 8 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Very interesting and informative Hub...Cajuns from Nova Scotia !!! Delicious recipes that are on my list of must haves...Concise and well written as always...I really enjoy your interesting Hubs, especially on my two favorite subjects; history and food...and this Hub has both !!! Thanks, Larry

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Fantastic read, Patty. Loved this. I've never had any of these recipes. Seems simple enough to make. I may just have to try some. Probably a great time of year to do so.

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

      fishskinfreak2008 8 years ago from Fremont CA

      OMG!! I had a cold chicken sandwich, a pack of peanuts, a Snickers' bar and M&Ms for lunch and I'M HUNGRY AGAIN, after reading this. Two thumbs up

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

      Somewhere on my dusty shelves I have a 1930s recipe book of Seminole Indian origin. The sweet potato pumpkin bisquits sound good.