Squirrel Jambalaya Recipe
There are many recipes for jambalaya and any of them will work with squirrels. Jambalaya is a Creole/Cajun dish that could be compared to mulligan stew which includes whatever ingredients you are able to come up with and while this is a detailed Squirrel Jambalaya recipe feel free to add or subtract whatever you like to create your own taste. The origin of this recipe is most likely Creole while Cajun jambalaya was created in the bayous of Louisiana where tomatoes were hard to come by.
I have always loved jambalaya and adding squirrel to mine was just another one of those culinary experiments that worked out well. This recipe works with any squirrel you like but I like to save the older, tougher squirrels for my jambalaya. Young squirrels always end up in the frying pan but for this recipe you cook the squirrel in a slow cooker for hours and this leaves the squirrel tender and tasty for great recipes like squirrel jambalaya. Let’s get started.
- 1 lb. squirrel meat (3 to 4 squirrels should do it)
- 1/2 lb. shrimp (optional)
- 1/2 lb. (hot) smoked sausage sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons cayenne,
- 2 teaspoons black pepper,
- 1 teaspoon oregano,
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Salt to taste
- Creole seasoning blend to taste
- 4 cups long-grain white rice
PREPARE THE MEAT
Squirrels have the reputation for being tough. When cooked properly squirrels are tender, even when fried. This recipe you want to simmer your squirrels in a pot or slow cooker submerged in water. I like to add some salt and pepper to the pot. Simmer the squirrels until the meat easily falls from the bone, usually 4 to 6 hours but I have left squirrels cooking an entire day.
Once the squirrels are done remove all the meat from the bones discarding all cartilage or any other unsavory parts you might find. The most important thing is to get all the bones leaving you with a pile of delicious squirrel meat.
Next comes the sausage. Cook the chopped smoked sausage in a skillet until browned. I use a cast iron skillet because when you combine the trinity and tomato paste, described below, you will want to scrape the browned sausage from the bottom of the skillet to add a great flavor to your jambalaya. Set your sausage aside with your squirrel meat.
The shrimp can be frozen or fresh cooked or uncooked. The shrimp takes very little time to cook so you can add your shrimp to the jambalaya as it simmers. Make sure, if your shrimp is frozen, to thaw them before adding them to the pot. I devein and remove the tails as well.
PREPARE THE TRINITY
The trinity in Cajun/Creole cooking is the combination of three ingredients. Onions, celery and bell peppers. Combine the trinity in the skillet with the spices and finely chopped garlic in your skillet. There should be enough fat from the sausage to coat the trinity evenly but if not add just a little vegetable oil to the mix. Sauté the trinity until translucent then incorporate the tomato paste to the mix. Stir the tomato paste into the trinity and continue to stir as the tomato paste browns slightly turning the mixture to a mahogany red. While stirring the trinity and paste be sure to scrape the sausage crumbles off the bottom of the skillet. They add great flavor to your jambalaya. This mixture will be very thick.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once you have everything ready pour the chicken broth into your pot and add the squirrel and sausage. Bring to a simmer. Pour in the tomatoes and juice and stir. Bring back to a simmer then add the trinity and tomato paste to the pot and thoroughly mix it all together. Stir until the paste breaks down and mixes. Since all the ingredients are already cooked a simmer is all this jambalaya needs to meld all the great flavors together while you cook your rice. The shrimp can be added at this point and even if they are raw they will cook fine in the time it takes to cook the rice. Add your cajun spices to taste as the jambalaya simmers.
I mentioned in the opening paragraph that there are many recipes for jambalaya and many add the rice to the jambalaya to cook with it but I prefer to put my squirrel jambalaya over fresh cooked rice. This is a personal preference as far as taste but I have read about and experienced problems with rice not fully cooking when cooked with the jambalaya and by preparing it separately you get perfect rice every time.