Jeremiah Doughty | From Field to Plate
Squirrel stew is a popular dish for preparing your squirrel bounty, but you’ll have a new go-to squirrel recipe once you try this one with squirrel and dumplings.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 squirels, skinned and quartered
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 5 cups broth
For The Dumplings
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1. In a large, deep pot set over medium-high heat, melt together olive oil and butter. Generously season squirrel pieces with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides, working in batches so as not to crowd the pot (about 4 to 6 minutes per side). Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.
2. Add the celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot. Cook the vegetables in the drippings until they begin to soften, stirring and adjusting the heat as necessary, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the browned pieces, thyme, bay leaves, garlic powder, onion powder, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squirrels are cooked and begin to fall off the bones, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme stems and bay leaves. Transfer the cooked squirrel to a plate. Remove and discard the bones, shred the meat, and return to the pot.
3. Ladle 2 cups of the cooking liquid into a large bowl or quart-sized measuring cup. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the flour until smooth. Continuously whisk the contents of the pot while slowly pouring in the flour mixture. Simmer and whisk until slightly thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
4. To make the dumplings, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in the melted butter, buttermilk, and minced parsley until just combined. With heat reduced to low, drop rustic, tablespoon-sized balls into the simmering broth. (Dumpling dough should be slightly sticky) Gently add dumplings one time and then simmer, covered, until the dumplings are firm, about 12 to 15 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, sprinkled with additional minced fresh parsley.
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