Pickerel, Wild Rice and Chanterelle Cakes with Tomato Wild Blueberry Sauce by Chef Jenni Lessard 

My Mom used to make these for supper. Simple and nourishing, they’re a great way to use up leftover cooked fish. The wild rice adds wonderful flavour and texture. They can be served alone but I like the tangy flavour and brilliant colour of this sauce, which is also perfect with pasta! Labrador tea grows in the boreal forest and can be picked using proper protocols. You can also order it and the chanterelles used in this recipe online at www.borealheartland.ca

For the Fish Cakes:


1/2 lb pickerel, cooked and flaked (about 2 cups)

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 cup cooked Grade A wild rice

1 Tbsp onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 Labrador tea leaves, crumbled (substitute 1 tsp dried oregano if you can’t get Labrador tea)

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 Tbsp mayo

2 Tbsp dried chanterelles, rehydrated and finely diced (omit if you can’t find any)

2-4 Tbsp lard

1 cup bannock or breadcrumbs

To Make:

Heat 1 Tbsp lard and add onion and garlic. Sautee until golden then add chanterelles and cook 1-2 min longer.

Under good light, check fish for any stray bones and remove. Place in a bowl with mashed potatoes, wild rice, salt, pepper, Labrador tea leaves and mayo. Add onions, garlic and chanterelles.

For main course sized portions, make 6 half cup portions and form into patties. For appetizer sized, use ¼ cup measure. Press each side into bannock crumbs. Patties can be made ahead and frozen.

Heat half the remaining lard in the same pan used for frying the mushrooms. Fry each cake until crispy then flip.

For the Sauce:


1 cup wild northern blueberries (substitute fresh or frozen domesticated blues if necessary)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

28 oz can diced tomatoes

3 Tbsp oil

¼ cup onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup celery, diced

4 juniper berries, crushed

1 tsp dried basil (increase to 2 tsp if juniper isn’t available)

1/8 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp maple syrup

½ cup water

To Make

Heat oil and saute’ onions, garlic and celery until softened. Add tomatoes, blueberries, juniper, all seasonings and maple syrup. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking until thickened, about 20 min. Add ½ cup water and cook a bit longer. Freezes well!

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