Getting out into the woods is one of the best places to be as a new hunter or even just as a nature enthusiast. Spending time in the woods has a plethora of benefits ranging from both mental and physical, and where better to start than familiarizing yourself with the natural area. While you’re out and about it’s great to take note of what wildlife you see. One of the most common critters found in Michigan forests is the squirrel, whether its black, grey or red! If you’re a new hunter it’s also a great animal to begin with. If you’ve never tried squirrel before, it really is one of America’s finest meats. It’s full of flavor, much like a denser version of a chicken thigh but with a nutty accent. Check out this week’s recipe on squirrel stew, and if you’re not brave enough to make it with squirrel it can be substituted for rabbit or chicken!
Squirrel Stew with Paprika and Greens
Prep: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 Hrs
3 Squirrels, cut into serving pieces
Flour for dusting
1/3 CUP olive oil
2 CUP sliced onion
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Heaping TBSP tomato paste
1 CUP white wine
¼ CUP cider vinegar
1 Heaping TSP dried savory or oregano
½ TSP red pepper flakes
1 Heaping TBSP paprika
2-3 CUP of whole peeled tomatoes, torn into large pieces
1 LB smoked sausage, such as kielbasa or linguica, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 LB greens, kale, chard, collards, wild greens, etc
Black pepper to taste
- Salt the squirrel pieces well and then dust in flour. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot over medium-high heat. Brown the squirrels in batches, being sure to not overcrowd the pot. Move the browned pieces to a plate or cutting board while you cook the rest.
- When the squirrels have been nicely browned, remove them all from the pot and add the onion. Saute the onion until it just begins to brown on the edges, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the tomato paste, mix well and cook this for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Pour in the white wine, vinegar and about 1 quart of water. Add the savory, red pepper flakes and paprika, then the torn-up tomatoes, then the squirrel. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste and cook gently until the squirrel wants to fall off the bone, about 90 minutes. Fish out all the squirrel pieces and pull them off the bone — this makes the stew a lot easier to eat. Return them to the pot.
- Add the smoked sausage and the greens and cook until the greens are done, about 10 minutes (If you are using collards, they need more than 10 minutes to cook so adjust accordingly). Add salt, black pepper, chile and vinegar to taste and serve with crusty bread.
Check back every Wednesday for a new Wild Game Dish recipe, proudly used by MUCC’s Gourmet Gone Wild program! If you’re looking for more wild game and fish recipes check out the MUCC online store and purchase a copy of Wild Gourmet!