Dear Corduroy Orange -
A friend of mine is interested in buying Beaver from his local Farmer’s Market and cooking it up, since it’s not a meat you often see for sale. This also means he’s not sure how to prepare it. He’s been looking at various receipes, but based on your knowledge, are there better ways to prepare this type of meat?
Curious in STL
I thought you could go to jail for trying to buy beaver on the street. Wait, no, that’s for trying to rent it.
Seriously, though, I didn’t even realize that beaver was a meat that could be purchased, so I’d be interested in how it tastes. I have absolutely zero experience with beaver preparation, so I don’t know that I’d trust my expertise in this area. I do know, however, that it is a rodent; and I’m pretty sure it has some healthy musk glands that i assume the butcher responsible for dressing the carcass will have removed.
In general, though, I anticipate that it would have a somewhat strong flavor, and that the best results could probably be achieved by braising it (such as a stew or a pot roast). As such, my recommendation is to season the beaver with salt and pepper, sear the beaver in a large cast iron pot, browning both sides. Remove the beaver from the dish, and add a chopped onion, about a half dozen whole cloves of garlic, a handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, a bit of diced butternut squash, and perhaps some diced, peeled apple (season the vegetables with some salt and pepper as well). Return the beaver atop this bed of vegetables. Add enough vegetable stock (I’d hesitate to use beef or chicken stock because you don’t want to interfere with the taste of the beaver itself. On the other hand, using plain water would likely dilute the flavor of the finished product) to cover the vegetables and go about halfway up the meat. Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for three hours. Serve with an accompaniment of mashed potatoes if desired.
Please let me know how your friend prepares his beaver, and how it comes out in the end.