Mike West's Squirrel Stuff

Cider Squirrels Southern Style

4 lg Squirrels (gray, fox, or black), or 2 rabbits
Salt and pepper
1/4 ts Powdered sage
1/4 ts Powdered rosemary
3 tb Bacon or sausage fat
1 qt Dry cider
4 tb Butter
1 c Heavy cream

Skin, eviscerate, and disjoint the squirrels, making sure to remove the small scent sacs from beneath the forelegs. If these glands are not removed, a bitter taste will be imparted to the dish. Soak the pieces for one hour in cold water to which 1 teaspoon salt has been added. Remove, drain, and pat dry.

Roll the pieces in flour seasoned with salt, pepper, sage and rosemary. (Prepared poultry seasoning is a good substitute.) Heat the bacon fat in a deep skillet and brown the squirrel pieces on all sides. Add the cider and simmer until the meat is alnost tender. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the meat is tender and most of the liquid absorbed. Remove the squirrel pieces and put aside to cool. Reserve any pan liquids for the gravy.

Roll the squirrel in the seasoned flour again, heat the butter in another skillet, and rebrown the squirrel until golden and crisp. Put the squirrel pieces on a heated platter, and keep warm, while you add all juices and scrapings to the skillet. Make a paste of a tablespoon of flour and the heavy cream. Pour this slowly into the pan juices, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth, hot, and slightly thick. Ladle the gravy over the squirrel pieces and serve.

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