Saturday, 6 February 2010

Squirrel Ragout

For the past week or so I've been training the squirrels in my garden to get used to the trap. At the beginning of the week I left the trap closed and a small tray (an old catfood tin) on top, baited with peanut butter, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Each day I'd rebait the tin and move it closer to the trap entrance. Yesterday the tin was actually inside the trap, but the door was wired open, so they could come and go. When the bait had been taken by last night, I knew they were ready.

This morning I set the trap properly and within an hour had caught one of them. Then this afternoon I caught another. I have skinned and butchered them and they're cooling their heels in the freezer. I have seen up to three in the garden, so I might just try for a third one tomorrow, but now I'm knackered. It's surprisingly hard to skin a squirrel. Unlike many other animals, the skin is quite tightly attached to the flesh underneath, so you can't easily pull it off. I snip the connecting tissue with scissors, but it's a slow business.

I couldn't depend on these beasties for one of this weekend's meals, as I couldn't be certain I'd catch any, and now we've bought some neck of mutton for tonight's dinner and have defrosted a neck of muntjac for tomorrow's, so the squirrel nutkins will be for another time. I do intend to follow Hugh Fernleigh-Whittingstall's delicious Squirrel Ragout recipe though. I think Jenny has always been a bit iffy about squirrel, but I think this HFW recipe might just convince her.

No comments: