In about a month my second novel, Until the Harvest, will be out. As a lead up to that, the e-version of my first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, is on sale for $1.99 through Sunday. If you’ve been meaning to get a copy, I hope you’ll grab it!
But in the meantime, I thought I’d share something from Until the Harvest. The book opens with my hero, Henry Phillips, enjoying one of his favorite dishes–venison steak. A little later he partakes of . . . fried squirrel.
Now, before you get squeamish, understand that in my growing up years we ate quite a bit of game–including squirrel. Plenty of folks still enjoy it. And my mother made the best squirrel gravy. If you tried some on a biscuit, I bet you’d think so, too.
Eating game is just a way of life in WV. Back in 2010 I wrote a short essay along with mom’s squirrel recipe for inclusion in The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook. That makes it legit, right? At any rate, just in case you have occasion to try it, here’s a recipe for WV Fried Squirrel. (No, it’s not like chicken. Maybe a little like duck . . . )
Fried Squirrel with Gravy
Makes 4 servings
2 large squirrels
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
Oil or lard for frying
Milk and water
Soak the cleaned squirrels in a pan of water in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Cut into pieces, place in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the meat is tender, but not falling off the bones. Drain. Season the meat with salt and pepper and roll in the flour. Heat oil or lard to shimmering in a cast-iron skillet and add the pieces without crowding. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove to drain on a brown paper bag. Leave about two tablespoons of oil in the skillet and add two tablespoons of the flour left over from dredging the squirrel. Stir the flour until it’s lightly browned. Add milk and water alternately, stirring constantly, until your gravy is as thick as you like it. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes.
The reason my gravy was so good is that I cooked it in chicken broth… and it’s best on white sweet potatoes. (use the broth with milk… instead of water.)
Ah-ha! Don’t think I’ve ever had white sweet potatoes. Well not recently!