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Recipes From the Everglades and Seminole Cooks

Patty collects recipes and gadgets from the past and is particularly interested in early American history and all Indigenous Peoples.

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.

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 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.

Recipes from the Seminole

Recipes from the Seminole

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 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

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, which was often handpicked 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


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


  • 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 and cut it into small pieces, but you would need to add fat other than pork. Some fish would be good in this dish as well.


  • 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


  • 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.

Recipes and Traditional Ingredients

Here are some tasty recipes that use traditional ingredients; they're all pretty fun to make!

Sweet Potato/Pumpkin Biscuits


  • 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


  • Preheat oven to 425F (220C)
  • Wash, cook, and mash the sweet potato.
  • Put the 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 to the potatoes and mix.
  • Add the flour mixture carefully into the potato bowl, a little at a time, and mix well each time to form a dough, not sticky.
  • Flour a breadboard or a clean countertop and place dough on top of it.
  • Knead the dough for 60 seconds and roll it out to ¼” thick.
  • Use a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass rim to cut out biscuits.
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and dust lightly with flour.
  • Place biscuits on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes or until done.
  • Serve with jam, jelly, syrup, and butter.


Skillet Corn Stuffing

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


  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 2 Large ribs celery, sliced thin.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Cups cornbread, well crumbled (you can also use cornbread 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)


  • 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 cornbread, beaten eggs, chicken broth, spices, and mix. Especially if you are using dry cornbread stuffing mix, let the mixture heat thoroughly to absorb moisture and finish the eggs.
  • Toss the stuffing lightly with a fork and serve.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS