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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Squirrel Nut Stew

Spent a weekend in the woods and collected a few mushies plus some fresh squirrel!

I've also had a bumper crop of sweet chestnuts and walnuts from trees down the road.

So i had a superb stew made largely from wild local food, apart from the flour (Waitrose farm in Hampshire), thyme (Dennis' allottment), salt (Maldon's, Essex), oil (olive but local rapeseed would be perfectly good substitute. I just happen to have a five gallon bottle of olive oil that was given so am making good use of it!) and carrots (Abel & Cole).

Here is my recipe for squirrel stew, incorporating Tristram's suggestions about the first stage for the meat:

Preparation stage:
1 squirrel, skiined and prepared (see Flickr for details of how to do this)
A few ounces of flour with salt and thyme mixed in
Oil

For the stew
1 or more penny buns (cep mushroom)
A few spiny puffballs
Handful of Amethyst Deceivers
Handful of sweet chestnuts, peeled
Handful of walnuts
Water
6 medium size Chopped carrots
Spoonful of apple cheese


1. Chop and put the carrots in to boil
2. Toss the squirrel meat in the flour mix and fry on a medium heat until nicely browned all over.
3. Tip off some of the carrot water if you think there is too much for the stew. Put the squirrels in with the carrots and add a spoonful of apple cheese or other flavouring. Leave to continue simmering
4. Add the assorted nuts and mushrooms to the frying pan and fry until nicely browned. keep an eye on the stew mix in the meantime.
5. Add to the stew and continue to heat for a bit.
6.Eat!

You could have potatoes with it for filling. The flour on the squirrel helps to make the stew itself very thick and creamy.

The key to this recipe is a) collecting nice things from the woods or local streets and b) getting the timing right so the carrots dont go too mushy.

It is very sweet and very nutty and very autumnal. The ceps really were very good indeed and the mix of the wild foods gives it a deep complex flavour.

Penny buns in the woods

Ingredients for stew: Squirrel, spiny puffballs, ceps and sweet chestnuts courtesy richmond council


Walnuts are big - whats left after processing is not much! Debris in background (subsequently used to dye a scarf and a bag dark brown), edible walnut bits in the front.


Squirrel stew!


Apple cheese recipe (click the pic to see it larger)

2 comments:

  1. wow this is mad/deranged/brilliant/interesting I cant believe you had squirrel. How do you catch a squirrel in the first place? I wish there were nice chestnuts in Victoria Park, but it just ain't the case... :-(

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  2. This particular squirrel and seven others were shot by the landowner. Shooting seems a bit excessive for a little critter like that but its the easiest way I think. it is a bit weird. but I do think also is weird to find it weird when there is nothing weird about eating chicken or lamb or cows. Its all the eating of animals. Seeing the process of change from "cute fluffy animal" to "lunch" is very interesting. It makes you realise you too are just a series of delicious joints and yukky bits under the skin. It gives a different understanding of what life is.

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