Celebrated British Chef Gamely Prepares Squirrel With Walnuts

As the U.K. continues to grapple with an overpopulation of non-native grey squirrels in the U.K., one celebrity chef has an idea: treat them like game, and throw ’em in the stew pot.

Marco Pierre White, host of the new program Marco’s Great British Feast, traveled to the posh Somerleyton Estate in England to feature “local produce” and game on his show. While grey squirrels are technically not local (being from the U.S. and all) they are quite convenient. So, it’s not surprise they ended up in some of his recipes. From the article Squirrel on the menu:

“The meal – squirrel with walnuts – was cooked in the kitchens at the estate’s award-winning Fritton House hotel where the fruit of the day’s shoot was also made into a squirrel and mushroom pie.”

Says White:

“I was surprised to discover that squirrel is considered a delicacy in certain parts of the UK and quite widely eaten. Having tried it I can see why.

“We tend to be squeamish about eating this small mammal but, when you think about it, it’s no different to eating rabbit.”

A Squirrel Headline Only Seen in Kentucky?

When this arrived in my email inbox today, my first thought was “uh-uh, I don’t think sooooo.”

 Squirrel hunting season means fresh dinner ideas

…With Kentucky in the midst of its squirrel-hunting season, which runs through Feb. 29, those who enjoy the sport can also turn their game into a dinner or two.

After killing the animal, you can skin it like a rabbit and make dinner, Miles said, and then the cook should determine the animal’s age.

“A young squirrel can be cooked just like chicken. The meat is not too tough,” Miles said. “If you have an older squirrel, you need to braise it.”

Squirrel Recipe: Brunswick Stew Made With Squirrels

Right now, the internet is chock-full of news stories about the start of squirrel hunting season, with plenty of outdoor writers either waxing nostalgic about hunting for squirrels as children, or lamenting the decline of the popularity of squirrel hunting. And, there’s also no shortage of news stories on deadly squirrel hunting accidents, like this man who died while hunting in California or this teen in Kentucky.

But few of the stories I have read give you any information on what you should do with the squirrel once you’ve killed it and cleaned it.

Until today! This news article from the Detroit Free Press, entitled ‘Why Hunt Squirrels?” includes a recipe for Brunswick Stew.  I don’t want to rip off the Free Press by running the recipe here, but here’s a partial ingredients list, if you’re curious:

• Four squirrels, skinned and cut up.

• One cup of creamed corn.
• Three pounds of peeled and diced new potatoes.

Also, this article has quite a few variation of the stew, which also can be made with pork, chicken, rabbit (or, I guess, any protein source.)