H. P.’s ‘Squirrel’ Stew (Beef Stew With Hearty Red Wine Flavor)

This is my father’s recipe. To the best of my knowledge he ALWAYS used beef instead of squirrel; but he bestowed the frontierish name on the dish when it was part of a camping trip menu. The flavor is greatly enhanced by cooking it at least a day ahead and squirrelling it away in the fridge overnight before reheating and serving.  So that’s another reason to call it “squirrel stew.”  Your enjoyment is further enhanced by being able to smugly go about other activities knowing that a brilliant dinner needs only to be heated up. Serve with french or Italian bread and a good sturdy dry red wine. Gallo Hearty Burgundy does just fine if you’ve spent so much on the beef that you can’t afford a Chianti or a Bordeaux.

- Dan Luckett

Cook at least 1 day ahead and re-heat

2 1/2 lbs. beef cut in 1 1/2″ cubes
1 large or 2 small onions cut up
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cup dry red wine
2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups water or 2 cans of beef stock
8 oz. can of tomato sauce
4 potatoes cut up in chunks
5 carrots, scraped and sliced
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste
flour
5 Tablespoons oil

Flour the beef (I shake the beef and flour in a bag) and brown in oil in your largest iron skillet. Remove beef from skillet and cook onion until clear. Return meat to skillet or (better yet) a large electric crockpot), add garlic, bouillon with water, and wine and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add tomato sauce, vegetables, spices and Worcester sauce and simmer covered another 3 hours. During the cooking add water to maintain the volume – if your lid is not tight you may need a couple of cups. Test the potatoes with a fork. Maintaining the water is essential to avoid having the meat stick to the pan and to ensure plenty of juice (which may be the best part).

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Cast-Iron Cooking: From Johnnycakes to Blackened Redfish (A. D. Livingston Cookbook)