Pawnee Blue Corn Mush: Recipe Inspired by mymothersside

Duane Linklater. A blueberry garden for Seattle, 2021

Duane Linklater. A blueberry garden for Seattle, 2021 . Blueberry bushes. Dimensions variable. Installation view from Duane Linklater: mymothersside, Frye Art Museum, 2021. Photo: Jueqian Fang

Inspired by A blueberry garden for Seattle (2021) from the exhibition Duane Linklater: mymothersside, Seattle-based chef Hillel Echo-Hawk of Birch Basket Catering shares a recipe for traditional Pawnee blue corn mush with blueberries and honey. Blue corn mush, enjoyed by many different Indigenous tribes, is a warm, comforting dish that can be made sweet or savory—a perfect hot breakfast on a cold morning! We hope it will inspire you to plan a visit to the Frye Art Museum to see the artwork in person; Duane Linklater: mymothersside is on view through January 16, 2022.


Cook time: Approximately 15-20 minutes

Serving size: 2


  • 1/2 cup blue cornmeal (Blue cornmeal can be purchased from these Indigenous-owned companies)

  • 2 cups water (for blue cornmeal)

  • 1/2 cup blueberries, either fresh or frozen

  • 1/4 cup water (for blueberry syrup)

  • Sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup

  • Pinch of thyme, basil, or other aromatics (optional)

  • Nuts or seeds (optional)


  1. Add a little water to the cornmeal to create a wet-sand consistency. This prevents the cornmeal from clumping before mixing in more water. Cook over medium heat and keep stirring as it thickens up. This will take about 15-20 minutes. You can adjust the amount of the liquid depending on your preferred consistency for the mush.

  2. Wash blueberries. Combine blueberries, sweetener, and water in another pot over medium-high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, let it simmer for 4-5 minutes or until the blueberries burst and the syrup begins to thicken.

  3. Stir in thyme, basil, or other aromatics into the blueberry syrup if desired.

  4. Add your preferred sweetener to the mush towards the end of cooking to prevent it from burning in the mush.

  5. Drizzle the blueberry syrup over the mush.

  6. If desired, sprinkle nuts and/or seeds over the dish.

Chef Echo-Hawk hopes that this dish not only feeds your belly, but also your spirit. The leftovers can be added to pancake or waffle batter. Be creative and enjoy!

Learn more about the Pawnee Seed Preservation Project.


Download This Recipe as a PDF


Photo: Hillel Echo-Hawk
Photo: Hillel Echo-Hawk


Chef Hillel Echo-Hawk (Pawnee and Athabaskan) is an Indigenous chef, caterer, and speaker born and raised in the interior of Alaska around the Athabaskan village of Mentasta. As the owner of Birch Basket, she has a passion for local, ethically sourced, and sustainable foods through an Indigenous lens and perspective. Her food and work have been featured in multiple national and international media sources, including the James Beard Foundation, Bon Appetit, Huffpost, National Geographic, PBS, Vogue, and The Seattle Times. An advocate for Indigenous food sovereignty, she speaks on the intersections of food and social justice, colonialisms, and environmental injustice.