Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brunswick Stew

There's a certain lack of squeamishness in Casserole Cookery: One-Dish Meals for the Busy Gourmet that I find utterly refreshing (or, occasionally, intriguingly off-putting). Meat comes from animals, and those animals come from somewhere, and that somewhere used to have fur or feathers or fins. Usually. So, here's to acknowledging the little critters that make some tasty dishes.
Brunswick Stew

Time: 1 3/4 hours

1 squirrel or rabbit, cut at joints
2 cups canned tomatoes
1 No. 1 can niblet corn
1 package frozen cut green beans
3 spring onions, tops and bulbs chopped
1 No. 2 can tiny new potatoes drained
1 cup red wine
bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and 8 peppercorns

Brown the squirrel or rabbit and onion in olive oil. Place in casserole, add vegetables, wine, and seasoning. Brown new potatoes in skillet used for squirrel and add to casserole. Cover and simmer gently in medium oven of 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Serves 4.

Brunswick stew
Salad: Celery curls, radishes, egg, tomatoes, and lettuce with French dressing (2 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar, salt and pepper, and a pinch of dry mustard)

You hunters (both the field and market varieties) should go big for this. However, if for no other reason than to start an argument, try chicken now and then instead of rabbit or squirrel.

Now, I don't think I'm going to find squirrel in the supermarket, and, recent Supreme Court decisions aside, I doubt the folks of DC are going to take too kindly to me taking a bead on the wildlife in Glover Archibald Park. Whole Foods usually has rabbit in the freezer case, so I could go that route.

When I was a 4-H-er, I raised rabbits. Yes, for showing, but yes, also for eating. I do have a fondness for rabbit as a result.

For your other ingredients, remember the cheat sheet for can sizes: No. 2 cans are about 2 1/2 cups, and No. 1 cans, about 1 1/4 cups. I'd assume the green beans should be of the "frozen into a block 4"x6" to 5"x7"" variety, not a big 1- or 2-lb. package. And your thyme should be dried, not fresh.

I know, I know. Fresh would be lovely. But then again, wouldn't fresh corn be lovely here? Fresh potatoes? Onions with a bit more flavor? A salad that didn't sound like a bit of a nightmare? Part of this project is staying true to the recipe... what you do in your own kitchen when you try to make it for human consumption is entirely up to you.

:cough: :cough: :use fresh where possible: :cough: :cough:

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