Squirrel with Herb Dumplings
By Chef Jesse Griffiths
From his cookbook “Afield, A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game”
Available through Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
Ingredients to Prepare Shredded Meat
2 whole squirrels or cottontails, gutted
1 onion, halved
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 medium carrots, thickly sliced
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Reserved stock from cooking meat
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
1. In a large pot over high heat, combine the squirrels, onion, cloves, bay leaf, and 2 gallons of water. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, skim any foam that rises to the surface, and simmer the squirrels until tender, 3 to 4 hours, adding water, if necessary, to keep them submerged.
2. Strain the stock into another pot and discard the onion, cloves, and bay leaf. Reserve 2 quarts of stock and keep warm over low heat. Cool and refrigerate any leftover stock for another use. Allow the squirrels to cool slightly and shred the meat. Discard the bones and refrigerate the meat.
3. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the carrots, diced onions, and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring often. Add about 2 cups of the reserved stock to the pot and stir until thickened. Continue to slowly add the remaining warm stock. Keep the pot at the barest simmer—do not boil.
5. To make the dumplings, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the cold butter and pinch together with the flour until it is in small, pea-size pieces. Add the milk, egg, herbs, and lemon zest, and stir until just combined, gently and briefly kneading with your hands.
6. Add the shredded squirrel meat to the warm stock, and then drop golfball–size pieces of the dumpling mixture into the pot. Cover and let the mixture simmer for another 20 minutes, or until dumplings are fluffy and cooked through. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Serve hot.
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