Young squirrel is good simply quartered and fried. Old squirrel is good stewed. When in doubt, it is safest to braise or stew a squirrel. Sometimes, for flavor and for whimsy, I like to add acorns to this recipe. Native Americans used to eat acorns, usually by grinding them and then boiling them. They are sometimes bitter because of their tannins, but this can be improved by grinding them and running them under cold water. Acorns from the white oak, the chestnut oak, the swamp white oak, and the Garry oak are all ideal.
This was an old squirrel, which I cooked in Arkansas a little while ago. Since I was in girl hunter mode and not photographer mode, I didn’t take a lot of step-by-step photos as I normally do. But the directions are detailed in the recipe. And of course you can be flexible and include your favorite ingredients!
Here is what you’ll need: squirrel, garlic cloves, bacon, corn kernels, chick peas, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, tomatoes, bay leaf, okra, potatoes, beer (not pictured), cayenne (not pictured), sea salt (not pictured), and rosemary (not pictured).
You will first par boil the squirrel in water with a nice dose of sea salt, lemon halves, rosemary, bay leaf and cayenne. As it simmers for an hour, skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Those are the impurities, and the lemon, salt, and rosemary are particularly excellent at extracting them.
In a separate pot, you’ll render the bacon, add the onion and garlic cloves, deglaze with the beer, and then add the remaining ingredients. Once you saute them for a few minutes, you’ll add 2 cups of the squirrel cooking liquid from the other pot, then the squirrel and Worcestershire sauce. You’ll cook this for another hour until it is all tender and stew-like. Then season it to taste.
Give it a try! And of course if you don’t have squirrel in your midst, other proteins will work well.
Want more squirrel recipes? Check out my book “Girl Hunter!”
“Squirrel Brunswick Stew with Acorns”
- 4 squirrels cleaned and quartered, plus rib cage and loin
- 1 lemon cut in half
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- Sea salt
- 3 strips bacon diced
- 1 medium-size onion chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 cup beer
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups red potatoes skin on, which have been cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups okra that has been cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup canned chickpeas
- 1 cup corn fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup shelled and minced acorns optional
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper
- Place the squirrel parts in a pot and cover with water. Add the lemon halves, rosemary, bay leaf, cayenne, and about a tablespoon of sea salt and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender, about 1 hour, skimming the foam from the surface as it forms. Once the meat is tender, turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.
- In a separate pot, render the bacon. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, okra, chickpeas, corn, and acorns and stir.
- Add 2 cups of the squirrel cooking liquid and stir in. Add the squirrel and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. With this stew, as with most, it is best to let it sit for several hours before serving.