Fergus Henderson, chef at St John's (26 St John Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 0848) started cooking squirrel after his mother saw the critters in her local Wiltshire butcher. And that's where it's best to find it ? by asking your local game butcher, especially in the countryside. He may be able to get some, or put you in touch with a farmer with a good shot.
4 squirrels, skinned by butcher
15g/1oz dried porcini
Splash of eau de prune, or cognac
Approximately 500ml/1pint chicken stock
Glass dry white wine
4 pigs' trotters
125g/4oz bacon, cut into small chunks
1 carrot and 1 onion, both roughly chopped
Bunch watercress, roughly chopped
Scrub trotters, cover in water. Simmer with carrot, onion, peppercorns and bayleaf for several hours until tender. Cool. Strain. Extract meat and return to liquid. Leave to jellify. Keep overnight in fridge.
Cut squirrels into five – back legs, shoulders, saddle. Remove hearts and livers, brown in duck fat, splash with eau de prune, mash into paste, reserve. Soak porcini in a little hot water for half an hour. Drain, reserve liquid. Cook squirrel gently in duck fat until lightly browned. Flame in eau de prune, add wine. Place in casserole. Fry bacon and shallots in same fat, adding porcini. Season. Add to casserole, with porcini liquor and four tablespoons trotter jelly. Cover with stock. Add lid. Braise in oven (170C/ 325F/Gas 3) for two to three hours until tender. Stir in watercress. Serve with liver paste on toast. Reuse content