Squirrel season opened here on Sept. 15. Matt went hunting for squirrels the next day. He took aim at one of the furry critters, switching to an open choke. Only he didn’t. He switched to a full choke. After he heard the resounding “boom,” he realized his mistake.. He cringed, seeing that the squirrel landed 15 ft away behind the tree. This is going to be bad, he thought. He was right.
Being the ethical hunter that he is, he brought the decimated remains home to salvage what he could. It wasn’t much, all things considered. Basically, the bottom half was the only part he could save.
You ever seen a squirrel? They’re little things. A half a squirrel is smaller still. What in the heck am I going to do with a half a squirrel, I thought to myself.
This afternoon, I put it in a pot of water and let it simmer a long time. It tenderized the meat, making it easy pickings and created a broth. If you’ve never had squirrel, I’ll let you in on a secret: it tastes similarly to chicken. A nutty chicken, if you will. I know the ubiquitous joke is that every meat tastes like chicken, but squirrels actually do.
At any rate, I was torn between a stir fried rice and soup. I finally settled on a soup. After simmering the piece all afternoon, I fished it out, let it cool, and picked off the meat. I put it back in the pot, adding slices of carrots and celery, along with plenty of garlic. I simmered until the vegetables were soft, then added corn and egg noodles. Instead of noodles, I had wanted to have potatoes, but I found my bag of potatoes had been reduced to a moldy saggy sack of yuck.
Once the noodles were al dente, I removed from the stove and served. I find that if you remove the soup before the noodles are totally cooked, the noodles don’t disintegrate as leftovers.
You wouldn’t believe it, but that little bit of squirrel ended up making a rather large pot of soup. If I want to stretch it further, I would add a can of peas or some green beans. Corn bread, biscuits, crackers or even just plain bread with butter make an excellent accompaniment. That soup will feed our family of four for dinner and lunch, providing I make sandwiches to go with it at lunch time.
Remember, if you’re trying to stretch your budget or the food you already have in the house, soup is a great way to do it.