Squirrel Confit with Duck Fat Gnocchi Recipe

Squirrel Confit with Duck Fat Gnocchi 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.

Recommended for You

Pass on your passion and make hunting fun for children with these tips! How-To

How to Make Hunting Fun for Kids

Jeff Johnston

Pass on your passion and make hunting fun for children with these tips!

Use these steps to accurately estimate a bruin's size. North America Big Game

How to Field Judge Bears

Jospeh Von Benedikt

Use these steps to accurately estimate a bruin's size.

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench. Ammo

Roll Your Own: Best Reloading Supplies

David Draper - April 19, 2019

Check out these top choices for building out your reloading bench.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Dream of a job in the hunting industry? Here's the inside scoop on some of the most coveted positions in the outdoors. Stories

17 Dream Jobs in the Outdoor Industry

Kali Parmley

Dream of a job in the hunting industry? Here's the inside scoop on some of the most coveted...

Over the years, Remington has introduced a continuously expanded variety of Model 1100 shotguns. Guns

Remington Timeline: 1963 - Remington Model 1100 Autoloading Shotguns

Hunting Online Staff

Over the years, Remington has introduced a continuously expanded variety of Model 1100...

These rounds have proven themselves most worthy in the field. Ammo

America's Top 10 Big Game Cartridges

Joseph von Benedikt

These rounds have proven themselves most worthy in the field.

See More Stories

More Recipes

A comforting soup recipe featuring lean rabbit meat, vegetables, and thick dumplings in a homemade stock. Recipes

Rabbit and Dumplings Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

A comforting soup recipe featuring lean rabbit meat, vegetables, and thick dumplings in a...

This delicious preparation complements the rich venison flavor with a creamy stuffing and a hint of smokiness. Recipes

Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Venison Heart Recipe

Michael Pendley

This delicious preparation complements the rich venison flavor with a creamy stuffing and a...

A delicious wild game meatball recipe you can make with ground venison or wild turkey. Recipes

Venison Italian Meatball Sandwiches Recipe

Hannah Walton

A delicious wild game meatball recipe you can make with ground venison or wild turkey.

See More Recipes

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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