Roast squirrel with squash, sage & hazelnuts

Roast squirrel with squash, sage & hazelnuts

By
From
Gather
Serves
2
Photographer
Andrew Montgomery

The following three recipes will work really well with rabbit, pheasant or even chicken, but I’m suggesting using squirrel as a first port of call. It’s relatively easy to get hold of these days (try wildmeat.co.uk) and it is, without question, one of the most sustainable meats we could ever hope to eat. This is such a simple and delicious way to cook squirrel. I’d recommend it to anyone, especially if you like getting hands-on with your food. This is the sort of dish I’d share with a friend, straight from the roasting tin, all salty fingers and smiles, with a good bottle of red wine. The meat is surprisingly tender and responds so well to the high heat of the oven. The pumpkin, sage and nuts are perfect with the squirrel, making this an ultimate autumn dish... albeit in a curious, Beatrix Potter kind of way.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 thick slices butternut squash
1 oven-ready squirrel, jointed on the bone
or 4 pheasant
or 2 chicken thighs on the bone
or 1 small rabbit, jointed
1 garlic bulb, halved around its circumference
1 handful sage leaves
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons whole hazelnuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Place the squash slices in a medium roasting tray and arrange the squirrel (or pheasant, chicken or rabbit) pieces around it. Nestle in the two halves of the garlic bulb, then sage leaves and bay leaves, and then scatter over the hazelnuts. Drizzle over the olive oil and season everything well with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 45–60 minutes, turning the squirrel pieces once during this time, until the squash is cooked and the squirrel is tender. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the meat to rest for 4–5 minutes.
  3. Divide the squirrel meat and squash evenly between two plates, along with a few cloves of the tender, roasted garlic. Serve straight away. (Or bring the roasting tin to the table and eat it straight from the tin.)
Tags:
River Cottage
seasonal
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