Carolyn’s Online Magazine
WHAT TO DO WITH
A 2015 GROUNDHOG
SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER:
COOK IT & EAT IT!
In 1723, the Delaware Indians settled Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania as a campsite halfway between the Allegheny and the Susquehanna Rivers.The Delawares considered groundhogs honorable ancestors… The name woodchuck comes from the Indian legend of “Wojak, the groundhog” considered by them to be their ancestral grandfather.*
UPDATE: On February 2, 2015, at 7:30 a. m., Punxsutawney Phil, by seeing his shadow, forcast 6 more weeks of winter. Most of the Western Pennsylvania precipitation was rain at the time of his prediction. Since 1887 Phil has predicted a longer winter 102 times.
This year, 2015, I decided to share some groundhog recipes with you. That is, if you are sufficiently angry to want to do in any groundhog which predicts six more weeks of winter.
WARNING: If you plan to cook a groundhog you must first remove its musk glands, located in their armpits. Otherwise, you might throw up from the stink of them as your main course boils away. —Ian Knauer
GROUNDHOG AND SWEET POTATOES (or WHITE POTATOES)
Submitted by: TrophyHunter 1 Groundhog Cold water Salt Pepper Sweet potatoes or white potatoes Cornbread The animal should be dressed as soon as possible and well soaked for several hours in cold, salty water. All excess fat may be trimmed off after the meat is cold. Parboil to remove and remaining fat and drain well. Place in a moderate oven and pack sweet potatoes or even white potatoes all around. Salt and pepper the meat and bake unti brown. Be sure the potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Serve with cornbread and use the heavy gravy that forms during baking.
1 woodchuck 3 medium carrots 3 potatoes 1/4 cup of butter or margarine 1 onion, diced 2 tablespoons of flour and piecrust dough
Quarter the woodchuck and place the pieces in a large pot with enough cold water to cover the meat. Boil it for 10 minutes, then discard the water, refill the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil again. Lower the heat and let the contents simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add the carrots and potatoes and continue cooking the stew for about another 30 minutes … until the meat is tender and separates easily from the bone. By this time, you should be able to pierce the vegetables readily with a fork.
Now, strain the liquid and reserve 2 cups. The remaining pot liquor can be saved for soup stock, or discarded.
Next, remove the cooked meat from the bones and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Melt the butter or margarine in a large, heavy skillet, add the diced onion, and cook it for 5 minutes. Then add the flour and stir the mixture until it bubbles … put in the reserved liquid and blend the brew some more until it thickens . . . and, when that happens, combine the vegetables and meat, mixing the whole concoction thoroughly.
Finally, butter a large casserole and pour in the meat-and-vegetable mixture. Lay piecrust dough over the top of the filling, brush the pastry with milk, and place the container in a preheated 400°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the crust has turned golden brown. BRAISED GROUNDHOG RECIPE
Servings: 6 servings
1 (5 to 6 pound) groundhog, cut into 6 serving pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
, for seasoning
- Rinse the groundhog pieces, remove any fat, and cut out the glands underneath the front legs and armpits, then pat the meat dry. Season with 1 tablespoon Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet, then brown the meat, in batches. This will take about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the meat to a medium heavy pot. Reserve the skillet.
- Add the broth to the pot.
- Pour off any fat from skillet, then add the onions, garlic, thyme, and 3 tablespoons butter and cook over medium heat, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until onions are softened. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the wine and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. This will take about 8 minutes.
- Pour the mixture over the groundhog. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Braise the groundhog until it is very tender. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Transfer the groundhog to a serving dish and keep warm.
- Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil and reduce it to about 3 cups. This will take about 10 minutes. Whisk in the mustards. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, swirling the pot until incorporated. Season sauce with salt and pepper and pour over the groundhog.
The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College:
February 4, 1841 – from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris’ diary…”Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”*
ADDITIONAL READING FROM CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS