Recipe: Muskrat Stew
This edition’s recipe is a Dorchester County specialty.
2 tbsp. salt
1 handful fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. pepper
½ cup red wine
Dash soy sauce
Stew 3 large muskrats ½ stick butter Flour for dredging 1 green pepper, chopped ½ large yellow onion, chopped 1 cup chopped carrots Salt and pepper to taste 3 large potatoes, cubed ½ cup red wine 1 cup chicken stock 2 tbsp. tomato paste 1 tsp. rubbed sage ¼ tsp. nutmeg 1 bay leaf
Instructions Clean and skin the muskrats, taking care to remove all fat and musk glands, and the heads. Soak in cold water for three hours, drain and place in zip-close bag with the marinade. Add water to cover and place the bag in the fridge overnight.
The next day, remove muskrats from marinade, rinse and pat dry. Cut them into thirds: hindquarter, back/saddle and front sections. Dredge these in flour and pan-fry in large iron skillet with lots of butter; about five minutes per side. (You can do this in batches if you don’t have a large enough pan). Place the browned pieces into a slow cooker, keeping the fat/juices in the pan.
Cook the pepper, onion and carrots in the pan with the juices for about 10 minutes, then add them all into the slow cooker. Add the potatoes, red wine, tomato paste and spices. Cook for several hours or overnight. Once the potatoes are soft enough to help thicken the stew, carefully remove the muskrat sections. Gently pull the meat from the bones with your fingers and add it back to the pot, discarding the bones. Stir to blend and serve.
To go a step further to cook meat pies, make or buy your favorite pie crust and fill with stew. Make a couple cuts in the top to vent steam. Place pie in the oven at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
Prepared by Mike Malpezzi.
Appears in Vol. 21, No. 1 of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, winter 2018.