07 August 2011

7 August - Squirrels; Brunswick Stew

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac for tomorrow: "Gray squirrels have their second litter now."

Hmmm.  Well, if the Mamas are sitting on their nests waiting for the stork to arrive, those fuzzy-tailed varmints outside attacking the bird feeders must be the males of the population, having some kind of "Guys Night Out".

Oh well.  I don't mind.  I like to listen to their chatter.

For those who are not so fond of the Feeder Thieves, I here give a recipe for BRUNSWICK STEW, of which the main ingredient is Squirrel:

Clean and draw 3 squirrels and soak them in cold salted water to cover for about 3 hours.
Boil enough potatoes to equal 2-3 cups when diced.

Bring 4-5 quarts of salted water to boiling.  Add the squirrel and 1/4 to 1/2 pound of chopped bacon.  Lower heat and cook until meat is tender enough to fall from the bones.  Remove squirrels from the pot, remove bones from the squirrels, return meat to the pot.  Add 1-2 cups of Lima beans (fresh, canned, or frozen) and the same of peeled and chopped tomatoes (a 1-pound can is sufficient).  Cook until beans are done.

Meanwhile, dice boiled potatoes.  Dice carrots and celery to equal 1-2 cups each.  Grate enough cabbage to equal 1/2 cup.  Cut enough corn kernels from ears to equal 1-1/2 cups with the milk scrapings (or use canned corn). Chop 1 onion.

Add the corn, potatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage, onion, and 2-3 tablespoons of butter to the pot.  Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Simmer and stir until ingredients are melded and the consistency of mush, about 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

If you can't catch sufficient squirrels, you can substitute a 4 - 5 pound cut-up stewing chicken.  Cook it and the bacon in enough water to cover until the chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken, allow to cool, and cut the meat into bite-size pieces (discard the bones and skin).  Return the meat to the kettle and add your other ingredients (you may need to add more water as well).


According to my husband, my mother-in-law, as a young wife, made Fried Squirrel one night for dinner.  Maybe she got hold of a tough one and didn't parboil it first, but for some reason, this entree foiled all attempts to eat it.  First her husband tried to cut it, then he tried gnawing it off the bone like a chicken leg.  When that didn't work, he tossed it to the dog, who worried for a few minutes, and then took it outside and buried it.  After that, squirrel never showed up on the table again. ("And if you're wise," said my husband, "you won't mention cooking squirrel to her."  I didn't.)