Squirrel Potpie

Next time one of those rabid city squirrels gets on your nerves, consider this as a way to take out your aggressions and also carry on local tradition. This recipe comes from The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking by Edna Eby Heller published in 1968 it was an attempt to document the culinary practices of local Pennsylvania Dutch families and standardize measurements so that future generations could reproduce these “classic” and traditional foods. It may not sound all that appetizing, but keep in mind that squirrel probably tastes somewhat similar to rabbit in its gameiness (I cannot actually attest to this assertion) and also that people living in rural environments would have taken advantage of whatever wildlife they could get their hands on. Since squirrels aren’t the most readily available meat in the markets today, if you want to try it, perhaps substitute rabbit. There are also three variations on the potpie dough offered, since dough consistency and taste was a very personal / regional preference.

Squirrel Potpie
(Serves 6)

1 squirrel
Potpie dough
1 large potato, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley
½ cup flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup water

Boil the squirrel until tender. Remove from broth.
Prepare Potpie dough squares. Drop into broth the peeled and sliced potato, 2 teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and parsley. Drop in the dough squares also. Cover and boil for 20 minutes.
Roll pieces of squirrel in flour, then brown in the butter. After removing the squirrel from skillet, pour the water in the skillet, then add this same water to potpie before serving.

Potpie I
(Serves 8 )

Every Pennsylvania Dutchman eats Potpie. Boiled with meat and potatoes, those squares of dough are really delicious.

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lard
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup water

Combine dry ingredients. Cut the lard into the flour mixture until the pieces are very fine. Lightly stir in the beaten egg and water. Roll out very thin on floured board. Cut into 2-inch squares with knife or pastry wheel. Drop into boiling broth with meat and potatoes. Cook 20 minutes.

Potpie II
(Serves 8 )

This Potpie is called “the slippy kind,” in contrast to Potpie I which has baking powder in it to make it light.

3 tablespoons shortening
2 cups flour, unsifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
milk (1/4 to ½ cup)

Cut shortening into the flour and salt. Beat egg and add to it the dry ingredients and enough milk to make a soft dough. Roll half of dough very thin. Cut in 2-inch squares. Drop into boiling broth with meat and potatoes. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Potpie III
(Serves 8 )

3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup shortening
1 cup water
black pepper

Mix together the flour, salt, shortening, and water as for pastry. Roll on floured board till 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch squares and drop into boiling broth. Add a copious amount of black pepper. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Explore posts in the same categories: culinary history, Food, recipe

4 Comments on “Squirrel Potpie”

  1. taylor Says:

    But their ears are so cute! And their tails so bushy!

  2. albert Says:

    sounds like upstate NY to me!

  3. My grandma from NC swears that Brunswick stew isn’t the same without a little squirrel in it.

  4. David McDuff Says:

    My dogs will occasionally catch a squirrel for me. They tend to be flea-ridden though — the squirrels, that is — which somehow puts a damper on my willingness to bring them into the kitchen.

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