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The Montana Lentil Table at Hardscrabble Ranch

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

We kicked off Hispanic-Latinx Month with MSU's Department of Diversity and Inclusion and Family Promise of Gallatin Valley

September 15, 2022

Photo Credit: Allyssa Henry

Wow. Just wow. What a magical evening last night was. It was the whole experience and felt more like dinner with family and friends than in small groups. Your gift is magical; your heart shines through the food you share. Thank you again. -Nicquo Hope


It was a truly magical evening. While we all feared rain, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. We are so grateful to our hosts, Kris and Peter Stewart, for allowing us to celebrate on their beautiful ranch.

Again we thank Timeless Foods, Root Cellar Foods, and a wonderful anonymous donor from Family Promise for the bison.

Following are the recipes from our dinner and many of your photographs.

Thank You!

Arepitas Paisa Makes 24-2 ounce arepas or 28 arepitas


Arepas are indigenous to Colombia, Venezuela, and Panamá. Make sure you use arepa harina and not masa harina, which is used for tamales and tortillas. If you live in Bozeman, you can get PAN in any Town & Country.

  • 1 package P.A.N

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 TBSP Kosher Salt or more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 cup of whole milk, room temperature

  • 5 cups of water

  • 4 cups of shredded cheese (mozzarella or Mexican blend)


Directions should always be short and to the point.

  1. Preheat to 400°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk.

  3. Melt butter with the water in a microwave or on the stove. Combine with the milk and slowly pour into the dried ingredients. Allow masa to cool off a bit.

  4. Pour in the scrambled egg and knead. Masa should be like play dough. If too wet, add more of the corn flour. If it is too dry, add a bit of water at a time.

  5. Add the cheese and combine until it is homogenous.

  6. With a cookie shaper or a soup spoon, shape into 1-inch balls and flatten. Place on the baking sheets leaving 1/2 inch between.

  7. Bake for 20 minutes and turn. Bake for another 10 minutes.

  8. Eat immediately. You can add more cheese on the top or dried fruit, like figs or the guava paste we had at the event.

  9. To reheat, place between a damp paper towel and microwave for a minute, or reheat in a scorching oven for 5-8 minutes.

  10. You can cut it in half after the first 20 minutes, insert a small slice of cheese, flip, and bake for another ten minutes.

Ensalada Caribe- Color and Sweetness

Ingredients- Serves 8-10, so have a party!

A good-looking guy in Colombia is called a mango, and you know why....but selecting the right mango is way more important than naming the guy. The mango should be soft to the touch but not mushy. Though green mangoes are also good, this Ensalada tropical calls for a ripe one.

  • 1 lb. organic greens, hopefully, local and purchased at Root Cellar Foods,

  • 2-3 ripe mangoes, sliced lengthwise or in chunks

  • 2 large red bell peppers, julienne

  • 2 large carrots, julienne, or grated

  • 1 large parsnip, julienne, or grated

  • 1 medium beet, ( 1 cup) grated

  • ¼ cup chopped basil

  • 1/4 cup chopped mint

For the Vinaigrette- The perfect ratio for my taste is 3 to 1, or 3 parts oil to 1 part acid, plus the extras you wish to add.

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon mango jam

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions for the Vinaigrette

  • In a pint-size jar, combine the vinegar, garlic, mustard, jam, syrup, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and shake to dissolve the salt. Add the olive oil and shake to blend—taste for seasoning.

  • Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Directions for the Salad

  • Place all of the ingredients in the salad in a large bowl. Leave the mango for the end, as it is heavy and will sink.

  • Toss with clean hands.

  • Add the salad dressing in quantities to your taste. We do not like to drown our salad in the sauce as we enjoy the flavors in each ingredient.

  • Add mangoes at the end; enjoy.

Picadillo Cubano a la Montana Serves 6-8


We love the bison we get from the Montana Wagyu Cattle Company. Please let Rick know that you come Claudia's Mesa way. You will not regret it!

  • 1 lb. bison

  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped, about half a cup

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 TBSP Berbere Spice Blend ( See below)

  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt, to your taste

  • 1/3 cup cooking sherry

  • 8 ounces of diced canned tomatoes, without liquid

  • 3 TBSP tomato paste

  • 1-2 bay leaves

  • 1/3 cup of raisins

  • 1/3 cup of pimiento olives, manzanillas


My favorite pot for cooking picadillo is a heavy Dutch oven like a Staub (from La Cuisine).

  1. Heat 2 TBSP of olive oil in a Dutch oven at medium. Bison is a bit dry, so extra olive oil will keep it nice and moist.

  2. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and spices, and blend the flavors.

  3. Brown the bison until it is no longer pink. Taste, and add more spices or salt to your liking.

  4. Add the sherry and deglaze the pan.

  5. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, and the bay leaves.

  6. Lower the heat and simmer. The bison cooks very fast, usually for 8-10 minutes.

  7. Add the raisins and olives and continue cooking for another five minutes or until the raisins get nice and plump.

  8. Remove from the heat and serve

  9. NOTE: Picadillo is excellent as an empanada stuffer, over tacos, over arepas, or with scrambled eggs.

Berbere Spice Mix

Native to northern Africa, this spice mix traveled through the slave trade and made its way to many Caribbean Islands and their cuisines. If you prefer less of a blend of spices, add cumin and Mexican oregano.

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 4 teaspoons paprika

  • 4 teaspoons cumin

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons pepper

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)

    1. Place all spices in a 4-ounce mason jar and mix. Store in a cool, dark space like a kitchen cupboard.

Haitian Rice

This delicious blend of sweet and spice uses the same berbere mix as the picadillo. Again, if you wish to have less of a spice combination, use pumpkin spice and add New Mexico red hatch chili.


  • 2 cups Pardinia Lentils ( or any kind except the crimson or yellow) cooked following package instructions

  • 2 cups basmati rice, cooked

  • 1 lb. roasted butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch (see instruction below)

  • 1/2 cup of raisins

  • 1/2 cup of grated unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 1/2 crushed peanuts


  1. Cook rice and lentils following package instructions. I like basmati rice as it has a nutty taste that goes well with this combination. ( In many Latin countries, we use equal parts water and Coca-Cola when cooking the rice as it gives it a delicious caramel flavor). For example, if you use 1 cup of dried rice, use one cup of water and one of Coke).

  2. Cook lentils following package instructions. Make sure to add one teaspoon of salt per cup of dried lentil.

  3. Turn the oven on to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  4. For roasting the butternut squash: place squash cubes in a large bowl. Add 1 TBSP of olive oil and toss, ensuring all the pieces are oiled. Add 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and blend to coat.

  5. Place squash in a sheet pan, ensuring they are spread out, so they roast and not steam.

  6. Cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. Turn halfway in the roasting process, so all of the ends roast.

  7. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Top off with more grated coconut.

  8. Enjoy in good company.

Andean Quinoa

We like using beluga lentils with quinoa—their dark, round color and size contrast with the white quinoa from the Andes Mountains. We like using various fresh herbs from our garden, but always ensure that cilantro is among them.


  • 2 cups cooked beluga lentils, follow package instructions.

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, follow package instructions

  • 2 cups cooked sweet corn, you can use frozen; defrost and cook in a little olive oil to remove moisture

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered

  • Juice of 4-6 limes (depending on the amount of juice-taste as you add)

  • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 TBSP ground cumin


  1. Cook quinoa and lentils following package instructions.

  2. Allow frozen corn to thaw, then saute in olive oil to remove the moisture.

  3. Add quinoa, lentils, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro to a large bowl.

  4. Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and mix in the cumin. Add mixture to the grains and lentils. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  5. Squeeze one lime at a time into the mixture, tasting and stopping when the amount of acid is right for you. The limes are often very dry, so that they may require more squeezing.

  6. Enjoy in good company, especially with lentil lovers.

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