Sunday, February 3, 2013

Squirrel Mulligan

Some recipes, like this one, are old friends.
by Leon Pantenburg
Recipes trigger memories sometimes, and that's what happened when I came across this mulligan recipe. The date on it is December 16, 1989, it has a 3.5 star rating out of a best possible four and I remember why I cooked it.

Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce newcomers to hunting. This squirrel recipe is good for stretching food resources when you don't have much meat, or only harvested one small game animal. (Pantenburg photo)
Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce newcomers to hunting. (Pantenburg photo)

At the time I lived in Washington D.C., and I frequently hunted at Quantico Marine Base, south of the city.
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For a country type such as me, weekend hunting trips helped me keep my sanity amid the Beltway hustle and pressure associated with a stressful job.
Shotguns were required to hunt on the base, but there was a loophole that allowed blackpowder rifles for small game hunting. Blackpowder is my favorite method of hunting anyway, and my .40 caliber flintlock was my ticket to small game heaven. All hunters were required to check in at the gate before dawn, and each was allotted 160 acres to hunt on for the day. I had scouted the land, and knew where the hickory and oak groves were, and I usually got my favorite spot.
There is something about drifting through a hardwood grove just after dawn, wearing a powder horn and shot bag and hunting with a genuine longrifle that is makes it impossible to worry. The smell of the damp leaves, and ker-flu of the flintlock firing, followed by the fog of powder smoke were part of an incredible experience and harvesting a squirrel was a bonus.
On this particular day, I was shooting well, and had killed three squirrels with three headshots. I hiked out to my car, and ran across two other squirrel hunters. My flintlock usually gets some looks and comments and this day was no different. I explained the complexity of loading and firing the rifle, and the feel I got hunting with it.
All this was lost on one of the hunters, who was packing a Remington semi-automatic shotgun.
"But it's got to be a handicap, hunting with that thing," he said. "What do you use when you want to kill some squirrels?"
"I got three squirrels with three shots," I answered. "How are you guys doing?"
They both laughed.
"Not that good!"
Later that week, I was looking for a recipe to use three squirrels, and found this one. It's a winner!
Squirrel Mulligan
3 squirrels, dressed
2 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 russet potatoes, diced
4 Tbs chili pepper
salt to taste
pepper to taste
dash of Louisiana hot sauce
1 c cooked rice
Stew squirrels in water until tender. Removed meat from bones. Place meat into broth, and bring to a boil; add remaining ingredients except rice. Cook 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add rice and serve.
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