Monday, January 28, 2008

Sweet Baked Squirrel

Unlike rabbit, cooked squirrel NEEDS something... it's hard to put your finger on. Here's a new and unique recipe that I developed that is straight from my Appalachian roots. Prep time includes marinating time.
2 servings 1 day 1½ days prep
Change to: servings US Metric
2 squirrels, cleaned and cut up into pieces (cut the back into 2 pieces)
3 tablespoons sorghum molasses (NOT blackstrap!)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh portabella mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon onions, finely minced
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup corn oil
Place the washed, cut-up squirrel pieces in a medium-sized bowl.
In another bowl, blend the sorghum molasses and the cider. Pour this over the squirrel pieces, cover, and allow to marinate for 18-24 hours in the refrigerator. Turn the pieces several times during the marinating process.
After the marination process is complete, gently dab off excess marinade from the squirrel meat with damp paper towels and roll them in the flour to which the salt has also been added. Set these pieces aside on a piece of wax paper or parchment for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 275-degrees F.
In a large skillet, heat the oil and brown up the squirrel pieces. Set aside on a plate when browned.
In a small roaster or Dutch oven, pour in the chicken broth and add in the butter, the mushrooms and the minced onion mushrooms. Place a small rack or oven-proof bowl in the roaster pan so that it will elevate the squirrel pieces above the liquid. Then place the squirrel pieces on the rack or bowl and cover with a lid or aluminum foil.
Bake for 90 minutes in the pre-heated oven (275-degrees F.) and then check the squirrel for tenderness. If it's not fork tender, bake it for 30-45 more minutes.
When the squirrel is plated up, set aside, pour any bowl drippings into the liquid that's in the roaster pan and make (squirrel-based) "red-eye gravy" from the drippings. Take the mushrooms out first, make the gravy, and then add them back in, or, just baste the squirrel on the plates with some of the drippings and the mushrooms. Either way is good.
NOTE! It is no longer adviseable to eat the squirrel brains as they have now been associated with a form of mad cow disease called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. While ADEQUATE cooking eliminates the problem, it's still not worth the risk until more is known about the problem

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