Country Kitchen: Squirrel Jambalaya
- Credit: Archant
Jane Price cooks a Marmite quarry, the grey squirrel
Let’s be honest about squirrel,. We all know that the grey ones have caused the decline of the native red squirrel in much of England and this makes them unpopular with many people who would like to see the red ones in their gardens again, but, does that mean I want to eat the grey ones? Maybe. When squirrels have been culled, do I want the meat to go to waste? No. If I go to a restaurant and squirrel is on the menu would I eat it? Yes, possibly.
The meat is tasty, but there’s not much to a squirrel and there is some effort required to bring it to the table. For this meal, I assisted the editor in the skinning of two squirrels – something I have never done before. I wouldn’t say I’m squeamish, but I’m not a natural at this type of thing. Phill normally takes care of all the ‘gubbins’ and removes the ‘coat’ and ‘boots’ – see, even describing these processes I feel the need to use euphemisms!
All Phill asked me to do was to hold on to the legs so that he could cut and pull the skin off, as it’s not easy to do that with only two hands. For the amount of meat you get it’s quite a lot of effort, but at least I could reward him with a meal made from meat he had hunted and gathered. When cooking squirrel (and the same applies to rabbit), I have found that the best way to do this is to poach the whole thing first for half an hour, making it easier to remove the meat from the bone.
The bones are tiny so you have to be careful to remove them all, and don’t be tempted to serve the meat on the bone because this would make for a very frustrating meal. This month I have made a jambalaya, which is a dish consisting of meat, sausage and vegetables, mixed with rice. After browning and sautéing the meat and vegetables, rice, seasonings, and broth are added and the entire dish is cooked together until the rice is done.
2 grey squirrels, ready to cook
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Oil for frying
2 sticks of celery cut into think slices
1 onion, chopped
100g long grain rice
1 pint of chicken stock
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
4 vine tomatoes
½ tsp of dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 spring onions
Salt and Pepper