Braised Squirrel Chili
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This is the first year that the Pennsylvania Game Commission has started the squirrel season in September. I support that decision whole heartedly. It gives me the opportunity to take my kids out hunting while the weather is still comfortable, the squirrels are still plentiful, and opportunities abound.
We’ve had a great season so far. I’ve been able to take each of my three kids out individually to get some one-on-one time with them, and harvest some squirrels in the process. We managed to get four squirrels over the course of three hunts. Four squirrels may not sound like much, but when hunting trips are limited to less than 2 hours then I think we’ve done well.
My kids love the BBQ squirrel dip I make, which was the first thing they requested once we brought home some squirrels. In addition to that, I wanted to make something a little different. A good friend is coming up this October for his first archery hunt, and I want to share different wild game recipes to give him a glimpse of what the woods of Pennsylvania have to offer.
With a garden that has produced tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cayenne peppers I thought what’s better than a good bowl of chili. So, working with Justin (our editor-in-chief), we put together this squirrel chili recipe, using ingredients that I mostly harvested myself. Enjoy!
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- 3-4 Squirrels, skinned and cleaned
- 4 cups wild game stock (sub beef stock)
- 12 oz Pale Ale
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 cayenne peppers
- Salt, Pepper, garlic powder
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 yellow onion, grill then dice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, grilled then diced.
- 1 red bell pepper, grilled then diced.
- 1 lbs tomatoes (5-6), grilled, peeled, and chopped
- 2-3 cups of braising liquid from above
- 1-15 oz can of Tri Blend beans (kidney, pinto, and black beans)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp Tacticalories Hand Cannon Honey Habenero
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat medium pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Amply season squirrels with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pot and brown each side of the squirrels. Work in batches if you cannot fit them all in your pot at once. Once brown, add the stock, red ale, and ancho chili peppers. Do not completely cover the meat. Cover and reduce meat to medium low. Cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is falling off of the bone.
- While waiting, grill the onion, jalapeño, bell pepper and tomatoes. Peel the tomatoes and then dice all the vegetables.
- Once cooked, remove squirrels and set aside to cool. Strain the solids out of the braising liquid and set aside
- Remove bones from squirrels, leaving only good, quality meat
- Return the pot to the stove, bring to medium high heat, and add 1 tbsp of oil.
- Add the onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers and beans. Mix well while adding the 2-3 cups of braising liquid. The amount of braising liquid depends on how soupy you like your chili.
- Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, ground chipotle pepper, salt, and pepper. Add brown sugar if you like sweeter chili.
- Bring the chili to a simmer. While waiting, remove the meat from the bones of the squirrel and add to the chili.
- Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium low and allow to cook for 20 minutes uncovered. This will thicken up your chili. If you like a thinner chili then cover the pot.
- Serve with sour cream, cheese, sliced jalapeños, lime, and maybe some frito chips for dipping.