Saturday, May 3, 2014

Squirrel with Salsa Verde


This is our first squirrel recipe and it turned out way better than we thought it would. The rich flavor of the squirrel slow cooked in homemade salsa verde, the fragrant cilantro-lime rice, the crumbled queso fresco cheese and avocado slices served on the side (forgot to put it on the plate when we photographed) created a great flavor combination that said "Mexico." It is one of our more complete dishes and we're quite proud of it. I think Chipotle should put this on their menu. Seriously. 

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 5-1/2 hours
Ingredients: 
- 2 squirrels, broken down
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- queso fresco cheese
- 1 large avocado, sliced
Tomatillo Salsa Verde:
- 8 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 12 sprigs of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- quarter of an onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Cilantro-Lime Rice
- 1 cup of uncooked long grain rice, rinsed
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro


1. To make salsa verde, place tomatillos, jalapeños and garlic in a rimmed baking pan. Roast them below a hot broiler until jalapeños are roasted, garlic is browned and tomatillos turn a blotchy black. Garlic will brown faster-- take it out before it burns. 
2. Allow ingredients to cool, then add tomatillos (and their juices), garlic, jalapeños, salt, cilantro and 1/4 cup of water into a blender. Pulse until smooth, then pour into a bowl. Mix in chopped onion and set aside. Check seasonings. 

3. Dab squirrel pieces dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown both sides. You don't have to cook the meat through. 
4. Move browned pieces of squirrel into a slow cooker. Pour in the chicken stock and 3/4 of the salsa verde, reserving the rest to serve on the side or for chips. Cook on low for 5 hours, until squirrel is tender. 

Serve the squirrel over cilantro-lime rice, queso fresco cheese crumbled on top and fresh avocado slices on the side. 



5. To make cilantro-lime rice, combine rice, water, oil and salt in a heavy pot. Boil on high uncovered until the water reduces down to skim the top of the rice, then reduce heat to low and cook covered about 15 minutes. Then take off heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes. Finally, toss in cilantro and lime zest. 

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