Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Not Too Nutty of a Solution

Oh, PETA may roast me for this post.

Apparently Britain is enjoying a new delicacy available everywhere from farmers markets to butcher shops and even restaurant — squirrel. Or, more specifically, North American grey squirrel. Since arriving across the pond, the little rodents have taken over the turf of the native red squirrel population. British marketing campaigns have launched since to popularize squirrel as the hip entree in order to save the local species.

It's a commendable approach, really, rather than wasting the animals when they cull the population. Not a whole lot different than the extra deer tags passed out in this neck of the deer-packed woods.

Squirrel is available in Britain in such creative executions as "squirrel and hazelnut pâté." You can also dine on squirrel braised with bacon, porcini and shallot, or baked in pastry or even Peking-duck-style squirrel, and Spicy Squirrel Popcorn. Even Heston Blumenthal, with his three Michelin stars is preparing the rodent du jour.

I've confessed my rural roots and borderline road kill consumption. I would expect it could be passable with bacon — lots and lots of bacon. And it is certainly better than possum. But, who knows, maybe I should try it again, this time fixed by a three-star chef.

6 comments:

Rachel said...

Why not? I'd give it a go - it's a source of protein, and provided the meat was dressed properly and there's no risk of getting a disease (can rabies be passed this way, for example?), I'm game (heheheh).

FWIW, here in Oz, I'm pretty sure they use the meat from kangaroo culls as well. Roo's pretty tasty - grass-fed and all. But it's like venison; very gamey and well exercised. On the plus side, it's lean, it's iron rich and it's wholly sustainable as well.

Chiot's Run said...

OH, I've always loved eating squirrel. Coming from a hunting family we used to have big squirrel dinners. All the men of the family would hunt and hunt and then at the end of the season we'd have a big squirrel dinner. We also ate a lot of rabbit. Nowadays we're pretty much just eating wild deer. The deer population is getting too big here in Ohio, so my dad could have gotten 6 deer this year, he was only able to get 3. But that's one per family! Mr Chiots and I will be dining on delicious venison all year long!

Rachel said...

I love venison...

What exactly does squirrel taste like?

Expatriate Chef said...

Like rabbit, stringier rabbit.

Rachel said...

mmmmm. I love rabbit. I'm envisioning lovely braises. Just bought my slow cooker, and this week is the week I make a solar cooker as well. But of course we don't have squirrels in Australia...

Slice of life said...

Just popped over from Simple Green Frugal coop.

Hi there

We also have a crayfish problem, from the US, but in someways although they are killing or native habitats, it can be good for the frugal pot. As you are allowed to catch as many as you want. so if you have a river that backs on to your house, you are allowed to catch the cray fish in it till there are none left.

Although there is no way we will ever irradicate all of them. You can catch 100's at a time, but there are still enormous amounts still out there.

In the Pioneering days in The States, did they not also eat Prarie dogs and ground hogs as well as Squirrels, caught for the pot?