Squirrel & Gnocchi Soup with Breadsticks 

A recipe featured in the Outdoor News Taste of the Wild
Jeff Benda Squirrel Gnocchi

Recipe and photos by Jeff Benda 

With many young hunters getting their hunting foundation rooted in small game hunting, and the deer hunting season coming to a close, this is the perfect time of year to consider your options for squirrel hunting. This recipe contributed by Jeff Benda of Harvesting Nature gives you a tasty excuse to hit the woods in search of this often under-rated wild game meat.


  • 2 to 3 squirrels, skinned, cleaned, and cut into pieces
  • 1 quart (32-ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 (16-ounce) package potato gnocchi
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • 2 cups fresh kale or spinach, chopped
  • 1 packet Goya Sauzon™ seasoning
  • Package of 6 frozen breadsticks
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan



  1. Simmer the squirrels in chicken broth until tender. This can be done in a pot on the stovetop over a couple hours, or overnight or all day in a crockpot. Pull all the meat off the bones and shred. Set meat aside and reserve the broth.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet, boil salted water and cook gnocchi according to package directions (usually only 2 minutes). Drain water and set gnocchi aside.
  4. In same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic & thyme and cook another 1 minute.
  5. Add another 2 tablespoons butter & whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  6. Gradually add reserved chicken broth, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in gnocchi, kale, squirrel meat, half and half, and Sauzon seasoning packet.
  8. Put breadsticks on a sheet pan and place both the breadsticks and the cast iron skillet of soup in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve immediately with a bowl of fresh grated Parmesan to sprinkle on top of the soup.


About the contributor:
Jeff Benda is based in North Dakota, where he is an avid outdoorsman and family man. He spent 25 years in the restaurant industry and ran a successful catering business. He now focuses his time home cooking as a creative outlet to transform wild game and bring it into traditional recipes from around the world to help expand people’s perceptions. His goal is to celebrate local fish and wild game and provide achievable, bright recipes designed to build confidence for new cooks, and inspire everyone to elevate their cooking. Jeff is a field staff writer for Harvesting Nature www.harvestingnature.com Follow him on Instagram @ndwildgamecook for more recipes, photos, and adventures.


Categories: Featured, Small Game

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