From Squirrel Quarry to Squirrel Curry!
With soaking wet feet I scrambled up a steep hill overlooking a shallow creek bordered on both sides by a stand of hardwoods. The steep climb brought me to a small stand of trees tightly grouped together, providing great cover to an excellent view of the woods across the creek.
I nearly dropped my rifle when damp soil from heavy rains shifted as I made a lunge for a root to pull myself up the last few feet. I wedged myself between the trees, then settled in comfortably to start glassing the area for the abundant fox squirrels feasting on the late fall walnuts.
My head snapped to the left at the sound of something crashing through the rotting leaf litter. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw a pair of chipmunks playing and chasing each other furiously up the trunk of a skinny oak tree. A few curious chickadees darted from limb to limb in the trees beside me and a persistent wood pecker made his presence known scouring the ash trees. Within minutes the woods seemed to come to life around me.
A crisp fall wind danced around my neck and it wasn’t long before a fat fox squirrel came bounding through the edge of the tree line across the creek near the bank. I perched the RAW HM100 on my knees and quickly found the bushy tail in my scope at around 40 yards. When the fox squirrel reached cover I kissed sharply and she froze at the sound. I took in a deep breath smelling humid earth and decomposing leaves as I settled into a steady trigger squeeze; reticle resting on top of her head.
When her tail flicked the rifle jumped in my hands and sent a .20 caliber pellet rocketing towards the animal. The squirrel tumbled from her perch at the sound of the impact.
Below. The RAW HM100 has been a very reliable rifle for me this season and is quickly becoming my favorite squirrel rifle. The .20 caliber is an excellent choice for squirrels, delivering around 25 FPE at the muzzle.
After a daunting decent I crossed the creek again and retrieved the animal just as the sun was dropping below the horizon. I headed back to skin out the squirrel thankful for a clean kill and another bit of meat for the freezer.
Squirrel is easily one of my favorite wild game meats. After having it just about every way you can have squirrel I’ve whipped up one of my own recipes that I think you’ll enjoy. Crockpot Squirrel Curry is a great dish to introduce someone a bit squeamish about trying squirrel, exhibiting no gamey flavors. Here’s what you’ll need…
Derek’s Crockpot Squirrel Curry
Prep : 15 mins. / Cook time : 4 hours / Serves 4-6.
2 – large peeled carrots
6 to 8 – white button mushrooms
1 large onion or 5 sprigs of green onion
3 – medium to large tree squirrels
1 – 12oz jar of Thai Green Curry simmer sauce (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
2 – tbsp unsalted butter or vegetable oil
24 oz of water
12 oz of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of your favorite rice
(optional) – ham bone
Start the dish with a spoon of butter in a frying skillet set to medium heat, you can also use vegetable oil. With a heavy knife cut the squirrels in half horizontally and dry off any remaining liquid on the meat.
With a sharp knife cut the squirrel right in half.
Lightly flour the squirrel, I like to add seasonings like salt, pepper, paprika and dried dill to my flour mixture. When the oil is hot go ahead and drop your squirrels in. We’re not looking to fully cook the meat here, just lightly brown each side to seal in the juices; about 2 minutes or less on each side.
Searing the squirrel in a bit of butter will help lock in the moisture in the meat as well as adding some body and flavor to the dish.
While your bushytails are frying coarsely chop the carrots, onions, and mushrooms. You can get creative here and add other root vegetables like parsnips or even potatoes Throw the vegetables in the slow cooker and finish searing your squirrel adding it to the crock pot when you’re done.
Adding a ham bone to the mix will give the dish a bit more depth of flavor but it’s completely optional
Add the vegetables in first, followed by the meat.
Mix in the jar of Thai simmer sauce ensuring everything gets coverage. Using the empty jar as a measuring cup add 2 jars of water and 1 jar of chicken stock making sure the liquid is above the vegetables and meat.
With the lid on set the slow cooker to high and cook for 2 hours. No peeking or stirring! After 2 hours set the cooker to low and allow another 2 hours to cook. After the 4 hours are up the squirrel meat will be tender, thoroughly cooked and falling off the bone ready to eat!
You can use any simmer sauce, but we’ve grown found of Trader Joe’s Green Curry sauce that has a citrus bite and fresh springy flavor.
Make sure the liquid covers all the ingredients and turn the heat on, after 4 hours your stew should look like this with the meat falling off the bone easily.
You can eat Crockpot Squirrel Curry as a soup like it is. But I like it in a bowl on a bed of steamed rice with a couple pieces of toasted buttered rye bread. I love this recipe for the simplicity, it doesn’t require a ton of squirrels and the fact that not a bit of the critter is wasted with even rib meat sliding right of the bone. There’s nothing quite as delicious as a warming bowl (or two) of this squirrel curry on cool fall day!
I prefer this dish over a bed of rice with a good piece of bread to scoop up anything your spoon misses!
I wish y’all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and as always happy hunting!