Skip to main content Skip to main content

Squirrel Confit with Duck Fat Gnocchi Recipe

Squirrel Confit with Duck Fat Gnocchi Recipe
Print Recipe

Squirrel meat is rich, nutty, and flavorful, more than holding its own in recipes with lots of spice or long cooking times. About the only downside is the meat can be tough and dry, particularly in older animals. This French cooking process known as confit (pronounced kon fee), first salts the meat for a day to cure, then submerges it in flavorful duck fat—you may have to befriend a waterfowler— where it slow cooks at low temperatures, turning tough meat tender. Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 4–5 squirrels, quartered, ribs removed from back section
  • 2 cups duck fat
  • 2 cups lard
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pink curing salt (Insta Cure #1)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tbs. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme

Directions

  1. Mix the salt, sugar, curing salt, pepper and thyme in a large bowl. Press each piece of squirrel into the mixture, evenly coating both sides. Place the salted squirrel in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. Longer curing times will result in a slightly saltier finished product.
  2. When you’re ready to cook the squirrel, heat the fat in a slow cooker on low until it has melted. Rinse the squirrel portions under running water to remove any of the remaining cure mixture, then pat dry. Place the rinsed and dried squirrel pieces into the melted duck fat and lard, making sure they are completely submerged. Add the bay leaves. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Once the squirrel has finished cooking, use tongs to remove each piece from the fat and move the pieces directly to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the surface of the squirrel for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Browning adds an extra layer of flavor and crisps the surface of the meat.
  4. We like to serve the squirrel confit over potato gnocchi that has been boiled then sautéed in some of the reserved cooking fat from the slow cooker. The fat that remains in the slow cooker is packed full of flavor. Strain the remaining fat through cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator for another confit or for pan-searing steaks or potatoes.
  5. Garnish the dish with finely chopped flat leaf parsley and diced red bell pepper for a bit of crunch and sweetness.
Current Magazine Cover

Don't Miss

The Essentials Gear Box.

Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.

Learn More

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Browning Maxus II Shotgun, Wicked Blend Shotshells

New for 2021: Browning Maxus II Shotgun, Wicked Blend Shotshells

Waterfowlers should take notice at the new products from Browning.

New for 2021: MEAT! Grinders, Vacuum Sealers, Accessories

New for 2021: MEAT! Grinders, Vacuum Sealers, Accessories

MEAT! Your Maker, makers of quality meat-processing tools for do-it-yourself hunters. The company's commercial-grade products are built "with quality in mind, not price point" for fellow hunters.

Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Take your venison loin to a whole new level with this delicious reverse-seared stuffed elk backstrap. Smoking the backstrap on a Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill first, then finishing it on a blazing-hot skillet or flattop, creates a perfectly cooked, medium-rare steak with a crispy, seared exterior. The filling of diced mushrooms and creamy Boursin cheese adds a whole new level of amazing flavors to an otherwise classic smoked venison loin.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Petersen's Hunting stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now