the golden sausage of progress

6 April 2008

grey squirrel? i must be nuts.

oh i love terrible, terrible puns.

but anyway, a helpful reader of beast feaster has pointed out that the british ox i ate the other day was nothing more than a british cow. a learned british cow, but still a british cow all the same. and since this has already been thrown down as a strike in the early days, ox as a strike has been revoked! quite a blow for the final days of the feast. so what better way than to make up for it by eating something particularly interesting - grey squirrel. i managed to come across a butcher's shop that sold this meat by chance as i browsed around small local stories to the northumberland area on a large news site. the butcher's shop in question is ridley's fish and game in corbridge and i had the pleasure to talk at length with the owner, david ridley, about the future of squirrel meat in britain. it looks bright. now look at it's comedy appearance:whilst thinking about a recipe, i knew it should contain nuts in some form. it had to. so i plumped for chestnuts. i made some breadcrumbs and mixed some herbs in with them, oregano and basil for a lovely herby fragrance, and then let them soak in some cream with a dash of vinegar from a sweet pickled onion jar. the soaking didn't really work so i just mixed it all up into a weird, but delicious, paste. i cast the chestnuts in and permeated them throughout the mixture. cunningly, before i did this i had squeezed a lemon and infused it with some salt and pepper before rubbing it on the squirrel carcass. i wanted to stuff the squirrel with the chestnut breadcrumb, er, thing but it turned out i had made rather too much of it. rather than i let it go to waste i just mashed it all in there. lacking string to truss it all together i just rubbed it with melted butter and let it get on with it in a low-heat oven alongside some roasting potatoes for a couple of hours.
after an unknown amount of time, i opened the oven to reveal a monster inside! ahh! but no, it was the squirrel that had taken on an alien form. the chestnut breadcrumb thing had expanded and bloated the critter, whilst forcing it's legs apart in a painful manner. i must buy string for future animal experimentation. the squirrel had taken on the look of a roast piglet and smelt wonderful, the chestnuts giving off a tasty smell with the breadcrumb mix.
rather unbeautifully i lay a bed of chestnut breadcrumb stuff on the plate and then the grey squirrel on top of this. flanking the beast were two piles of too many roast potatoes. unpictured is the gravy i made from the scant drippings and other junk i found about the kitchen, mostly looking sad on my rather empty fridge shelf. delicious all the same.
the squirrel meat was quite tender, obviously a younger squirrel. my only judge of this was the meat tenderness, i imagine an older squirrel would be more exercised and thus tougher. please go ahead and point out all my inaccuracies in that theory. the taste itself was a strange hybrid of rabbit and duck with an underlying sweetness that i could only attribute to a life of eating hazelnuts and fruit in a forest somewhere. you really all should try some! not only does it taste good but it gives two fingers up to the vermin greys and lends a hand to our poor old red squirrels. as the butcher's who sent me this squirrel say - eat a grey, save a red.

i would also like to say well done to everyone who, like my chums and i, got tickets to Glastonbury this year! keep your eyes peeled for osgrow and powwow if you want to try something exciting and tasty! oh and for me in a meat related t-shirt. probably being attacked by some vigilante vegans.


Helen said...

Hi, could you please tell me where you got the squirrel meat from? Cheers!

Helen said...

Sorry, forgot to check the box to e-mail follow up comments. Can you reply after this one please? I can't wait to taste me some squirrel!

rusty said...

hi helen! sorry i haven't replied sooner, i didn't receive any emails saying i had comments to moderate, oops..

so i got the squirrel from a butcher's shop called ridley's fish and game, in corbridge. the owner is called david ridley and is a nice chap, you would either have to visit or give him a call though.

let me know how it goes! i will also keep you in the loop with the next project which i mentioned (over a year ago!) that i seem to remember you were interested in, it has been a long time because i am now doing a PhD!

your friend, beastfeaster.

Anonymous said...

dr beastt feaster, this is encouraging to see. those gray squirrels are a menace, they should all be eaten