The Hubs has mentioned a couple times over the last year or so how he would like me to make turnips sometime. He said his Grandpa Jones used to make a big pot when he was a kid, and he cooked them with carrots and ground hog. I am not joking.
If you’re wincing at the screen while you’re reading this, let me assure you, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat ground hog. This is West Virginia, after all. And “old timers” used to eat ground hog on the regular. I was telling my mom about this request for turnips, and she said she could remember when she was little her parents cooking ground hog. They were a readily accessible and tasty protein that cooked up fairly easily (and a nuisance for gardeners).
Someone gave her some turnips, so she passed a few along to me to make some for the Hubs. While I didn’t have any groundhog, I did have some squirrel I thought would substitute fairly well.
Aren’t they beautiful?
The problem was, I couldn’t find a recipe for ground hog … er, squirrel stew with turnips. So, I kinda winged it.
The stew wasn’t bad. Except for the turnips. I thought I must’ve eaten them before at some point. But now that I’ve had them in this stew, I definitely don’t think that I have. And I’m not crazy about them. Put that on the very short list of foods that I would be totally okay with never eating again. I mean, I didn’t hate them, they just weren’t great. I guess I expected them to taste kinda like potatoes, but they do not. Unfortunately. Maybe somewhere someday I’ll be wowed by them at a restaurant. I won’t rule them out.
I even made biscuits because that seemed like the thing to serve these with. They were great for sopping up the stew. Yes, I just used the word “sopping” in the context of biscuits…
The squirrel was actually delicious. The only drawback was that it still had bones in it that you had to eat around. I’m not sure that could have been helped really. I made these in the slow cooker, but I lightly dredged the squirrel in flour and browned it off in a skillet before I added it in. I used chicken stock and diced a couple carrots and an onion in with it. The flour from the meat thickened the soup a little, which made it hearty and warm.
The squirrels were actually one of the ones the Hubs and I killed this fall. I added some squirrel meat that my father-in-law canned last fall. This stew was a great way to use those since they weren’t freshly killed. The meat was nice and tender.
I might try this again, except using potatoes instead of turnips. As for turnips, the Hubs said that was his one batch for the year, so I don’t have to worry about making those again for a while, and that doesn’t bother me.