Squirrel Gumbo Recipe
The best way to prepare squirrels for this squirrel gumbo recipe is to slow cook them in water until meat falls off the bones. You can simmer your squirrels on the stove but a slow cooker works best. Separate all meat from the bone and save 2 cups of the broth to flavor the gumbo.
- 3 squirrels deboned
- 1 pound of smoked sausage
- 1 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning (add more to taste)
- pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)
- pinch of salt (the sausage adds some on its own
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1 bunch of scallion
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 large green pepper
- ¼ cup of flour
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
The first documented references to gumbo, according to Dr. Carl A. Brasseaux of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, was in 1803. Gumbo was served at a gubernatorial reception in New Orleans. Since then gumbo has become a symbol of Louisiana cooking and like any recipe that has time to evolve the accepted methods can become blurred from one cook to another. While many types of gumbos exist within Louisiana itself just wait until an outsider gets a taste and takes it home, which is just what I did many years ago. I was living in a tent in New Iberia Louisiana while refurbishing helicopters for an off shore logistics company. I learned to enjoy gumbo while living there and now want to share with you my squirrel gumbo recipe.
My First Bowl of Gumbo
My first bowl of gumbo was in a restaurant in Louisiana. When the lady set it down in front of me I was wondering if something was wrong. I called her back and asked her why there were chicken bones sticking out of my bowl. She said “it’s gumbo” and walked away. OK the taste was great so I began eating and when I wanted some chicken I just grabbed a bone. Then I got a shrimp in my mouth and crunched into the tail which had been left on as well. I enjoyed that bowl of gumbo, sort of, but vowed to make it myself without the bones and this is just one example of changing a recipe to suit your taste.
Prepare the Squirrel
Place the squirrels whole into your pot of water and cover on low heat. Once the squirrels have cooked remove them and set them aside to cool. When the squirrels are cool enough to handle you can debone them. Save the broth and leave the pot on low and add the boneless squirrel meat to the broth. Add all of the seasonings at this point, this allows them to breakdown and begin the flavoring process early.
Prepare the Sausage
Traditional gumbo calls for andouille sausage which is a spicy. I like to use a mild smoked sausage. I can handle the spicy andouille sausage, but I try to keep the spiciness to a minimum for my family and add the “hot” to my serving. Cut the sausage into ¼ to ½ inch thick rounds depending on preference. Sear the sausage in a skillet until well browned on both sides then add the sausage to the pot with the squirrel meat. Set the skillet off the heat.
The Holy Trinity
The onion, celery and bell pepper was given the name “holy trinity.” The mostly catholic french cajuns of long ago meant this allusion as a sign of respect due to the importance this trio plays in cajun cooking. My family will not touch celery even though my little girl ate chicken noodle soup with celery for years. She thought it was pickles and called it pickle soup. Had she known it was celery she would have never touched it. My substitute for celery is scallions. Chop the onion, scallion and bell pepper into small pieces and set aside.
The roux is the foundation to a good gumbo making the broth thicker and richer. There are many ways to prepare a roux but as long as it contains hot oil and flour you should be alright. Place the vegetable oil into the skillet with the sausage crumbles and heat to a medium high temperature. You can sprinkle a little flour into the oil and when it sizzles it’s ready. Now slowly add the flour as you stir continuously making sure to scrape the sausage crumbles from the bottom of the skillet. This makes a great tasting roux and adds some color. Cook the roux until completely blended with the oil and browned to your preference.
Putting it Together
Anything added to your gumbo should be warmed up first. This will prevent the roux from separating and causing the roux to clump. Add the still hot roux with vegetables slowly to the broth while stirring. Stir for a few minutes to actively blend the roux with the broth as the temperature stabilizes throughout the ingredients.
Now is the time to add the tomato juice. Run some hot water over the jar to warm the juice. I put 2 cups in the list of ingredients but I use the tomato juice to acquire the correct consistency. A personal preference. If you need more than two cups to thin your gumbo add water or chicken broth to thin it further. Bring the gumbo to a simmer and cover. The gumbo is ready to eat but the longer it simmers the better the flavors mingle and meld. Serve over rice and enjoy.
You have to try my crappie chowder gumbo