- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 29, 2006

In fall and winter, our family enjoys wild game. In the case of squirrels, five or six of them are the stuff great dinners are made of. I skin the squirrels, eviscerate them, save the livers and hearts, cut them into six pieces (four leg portions, two back portions) and put the meat into lightly salted water to draw small remnants of blood. After draining the water, I dry the meat and then choose one of several recipes.

If the squirrel was difficult to skin, chances are it wasn’t a young specimen and hence is scheduled for the stew pot. If it was easily skinned, it probably was a young animal and can be fried like chicken.

I prefer them stewed. After salting, peppering and lightly flouring the cut-up pieces along with the livers (be sure to first cut out the tiny greenish gall bladder) and hearts, put everything into a deep pot that already contains a bit of previously heated vegetable oil, chopped onion and a couple of crushed garlic cloves. Let the meat and chopped onion brown a bit, making sure nothing sticks, then add enough water to cover all the pieces. Add a couple of bay leaves and let the pot’s contents simmer until tender. Set the meat aside, then bring the pot’s broth to a boil and stir in several tablespoons of corn starch that has been smoothly dissolved in a quarter-cup of water. Reduce the heat when the gravy has thickened and add salt and pepper as needed. I also add several generous shots of a popular European seasoning known as Maggi (available in all grocery stores).

Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and a cold glass of tea or beer.

Gene Mueller

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