Friday, 14 October 2011

A good dish for a meat free Friday

In the 17th Century a certain Bishop of Quebec pronounced that the Friday abstinence could accommodate beaver as this was deemed to be 'fish' on account of it swimming in water.

Well I've visited Istanbul many times but I ain't no turkey! Sorry for the hillbilly phraseology but, you see, I was almost an American or, rather, my father was almost born an American in which case, I believe that I would be able to claim the USA as my fatherland and I rather fancy hillbilly talk.

My grandfather had emigrated to the USA in the 1890s and was joined by his wife. They moved around Boston and Connecticut until, my grandmama declared that she wanted to return to England (they were both first generation English, their parents, in turn coming from Ireland).

I believe that they had taken American citizenship but they certainly set sail for England aboard a US vessel. My grandmother was expecting a baby within a few days of setting off (strange) but the birth was delayed and she did not produce my father until they were back in Blighty. Phew! A narrow squeak!

A nice slice of Beaver? - actually I'll opt for the fish!

This post is going nowhere so cut to beaver stew recipe.....'enjoy' as they say almost everywhere now....first catch your beaver....

2-3 lbs 1 inch cubes beaver
Bacon grease
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 medium onions
1/2 lb carrots
6 medium potatoes
2 stalks celery

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a closable bag or 2 quart closable plastic container and shake until mixed. Add beaver and shake until well coated.

Dice onions. Melt enough bacon grease in the bottom of a fry pan to sauté onions and beaver. Sauté onions and floured beaver in bacon grease, adding more grease as needed. Place sautéed cubes and onions in a 4 quart pot with enough water to cover. Add water to fry pan to remove the remainder of the bacon grease and flour. Add this pan gravy to your stew.

Slice carrots and dice celery. Add carrots and celery to your stew and simmer until beaver is somewhat tender (about 30 minutes). Taste broth and add salt or pepper to taste. Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes and add enough water to just cover the meat and vegetables. Simmer until potatoes are done (about 30 minutes).

Now, if you enjoy this dish, a word of caution. If you find that your sentences carry a slight echoing whistle as you enunciate or, if you develop a fondness for nibbling at the trunk of trees - then is the time to stop!


  1. Guess it's time to break out the drown sets and git me some beaver. The lake down the road's just chuck full of 'em. We done already kilt a passle of 'em just to clear 'em out 'cause they done tore up the shore trees. The river's got a mess of 'em, too.

    They's supposed to be good eatin' but I ain't ever tried one yet. To busy chewin' on 'coon, 'possum and tree rats. Guess if they was in a pot a greens and such, cooked slow over a fire they'd prolly be tolerable tasty.

    And they ain't no hill folk in Boston nor no hillbilly talk, neither.

    Damn, but it's tiring to write the way so many of my country brethren talk. Welcome to the Ozarks.

  2. Richard,

    If you ever get a hankerin' to see how the real hill folk live, and you can get your sound workin' to hear the voices, go to this site and look at some of the videos:

    You'll need to use Explorer to watch them. The sites and sounds are pure Missouri Ozarks. These videos are about 30 years old but when you get down in the hollers not much has changed. There's still people that live in houses without electric or plumbing, and they're not poor. They just choose to live simply. Or they're cookin' meth, the moonshine of modern life.

    It can be hard to get to know most of 'em 'cause the old Scots/Irish clan life of their ancestors is strong still today. And sometimes you need an interpreter to figure out what they're sayin'. I've read and heard about teachers that went down to Shannon County in the late '50's and found the kids were speaking perfect Elizabethan English. Most said that they hated to change 'em but they knew that if the kids were to have any chance in the world they had to learn to speak modern English. I've known guys that still sounded like the words they used everyday came out of one of Shakespeare's plays.

    Anyway, I thought I'd pass this along. It's a bit of real America, the parts that you rarely see, the heart and soul of a free people, far from government control and living by the rules God gave 'em. We need to get back closer to this if we want to survive. It's the life I aspire to.

  3. Richard,
    You have got me starving; I am sick of Fasting On Fridays! Bring some of Your Beaver Recipe to Jarrow any-time!