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PASTURE CASSEROLE

(Starring Wood Chuck)

It's groundhog season and it's in full bloom. You can tell when it is time to go groundhog hunting because the cars on the highway are already getting their limits. Actually there is no hunting season on Mr. Whistle Pig and there is no limit on the number you may take, plus a hunting license is not required so I've been told by the DNR. Please check with them before heading into the field with a firearm. Groundhogs are good eating and the only cost involved in harvesting this quality meat producing animal is the price of one .22 bullet per animal. Make sure you get written permission from the land owner before trespassing on their property.

I like groundhogs parboiled in several changes of water with onion and garlic to kill the wild taste, (after they've been skinned, gutted, and quartered that is.) Cook until the meat is tender and ready to fall off the bone. Here, I like the pieces rolled in seasoned flour and fried or put into stew/soup, or take the cooked meat off the bones and grind it up with boiled eggs, pickle relish, onion, and mayonnaise to make a sandwich spread. Here is a recipe I found that sounds like it would be good also. Let me know if you try it and like it.

PASTURE CASSEROLE

(Inspired by Patricia A. Sigman – Pennsylvania)
1 skinned, gutted, groundhog (boiled until the meat comes off the bones)
1/2 cups water
1 can of beef broth
2 1/2 cups noodles
1 tbsp. cornstarch (mixed with a little cold water to prevent lumping)
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Garlic powder to taste

Combine water and beef broth in a two-quart saucepan. Add noodles and cook until tender. Add salt, pepper and butter. Add cornstarch mixture to thicken. In a two-quart casserole dish combine the noodle mixture, peas, onion, and the cooked groundhog meat. Top with buttered bread crumbs or canned French fried onion rings. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes.

No groundhog? Substitute equal amount of cooked squirrel or rabbit meat.


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