Since it is a Vigil of a Feast (St. John the Baptist) I extended my Friday abstinence (and fast, as it turns out) to 1st Vespers. For breakfast, 2 poached eggs and half an English muffin, for lunch some pickled beets (love ’em). That brought a hungry me to supper.
Tonight I had scoiattolo in umido… squirrel braised in white wine.
I hate squirrels. When dead, however, they are rather well tasting. Tip: lightly killing them makes for a less agitated meal.
Here is the enemy, female, dubbed for the sake of this exercise, “Carol”, both from Sciurus carolinensis and in honor of the Catholic Health Association, lightly killed as mentioned before, then skinned, etc.
I also had a chicken breast that had to be either cooked or tossed. I opted for cooking and, in solidarity with Carol, dubbed the chicken “Margaret”. Of course country squirrel is better, right? I am sure Horace would agree… just to link it back to The Sabine Farm.
First, I butterflied Margaret open, though against my instinct I did not then beat her with a hammer. I then browned them both in olive oil and, nicely bronzed, removed them from the pan.
In the same pan, I sweated down a base of finely chopped carrot, celery, onion, garlic, all nameless. Then I added white wine (Sauv blanc) and chicken stock in about equal portions along with tarragon, thyme, a bay leaf, a generous grind of black pepper and a dash of cayenne. No salt.
I dredged the meat in flour and rejoined them to the base and liquid.
I was going to have Carol and Margaret with fava beans and a nice Chianti, but opted instead for rice and broccoli.
I covered the sisters’ pan and prepped brown rice – 1 cup of rice in 1 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken broth.
About 15 minutes into the simmering process I turned the meat.
When the rice was just about done, I put into the pan a large and equally nameless broccoli floret cut vertically in quarters, covered the pan, and let it simmer at very low heat.
Scoiattolo in umido. However, in this photo I had forgotten to dress up the rice with the wonderful self-generated sauce in the pan. Sorry, no photo.
Yum. It’s a lot of work to eat a tree rat, er um… Carol… but they are tasty.
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are trying to ask, “Eeeeeew! What do they taste like?”
They taste much like rabbit. They are both a bit sweeter and a bit more intense than chicken, even real scratching-around chicken.
Afterwards, amaro Ramazotti and a Macanudo “Gigante”, given by grateful readers. I deeply appreciate them. I usually get the Hyde Park but I like this gauge better.
Perhaps you have your own Carol recipes, which you should feel free to share.