Last week I went on a hunting trip with Kevin, and I shot and killed my first animal. It was a squirrel.
I know: that’s not very impressive. I’m sure most boys who grow up in the country have done this by age ten. And I know: you think squirrel is something that only hillbillies or starving back-country adventurers eat. Actually it’s pretty tasty.
Once skinned, gutted, and cleaned, the squirrel carcass looked very much like a tiny rabbit. The meat was shockingly dark. I thought that a small critter with such rapid, twitching movements would have light meat.
The cleaned carcass:
I divided the squirrel that same way I would a rabbit: into forequarters, a saddle, and hindquarters.
I made a simple stew. I had a sausage on hand, so I removed the casing and cooked the meat in the pot to get some of the fat. I seared the squirrel in that sausage fat, then added onion and garlic and sautéed briefly. I poured in some leftover Labrador tea, brought it to a boil, then added wild rice. The stew was gently simmered over the fire until the wild rice had popped and the squirrel was tender. Mid-way through I added some potato. I finished the stew by wilting foraged dandelion.
So, how did baby’s first squirrel dish taste? It was good. The squirrel meat itself reminded me of spruce grouse more than anything else.