Muskrat Recipes - Tidewater Tried & True
Updated: Feb 20
At our muskrat dining party, the main entrees were cooked a couple ways. We parboiled a few muskrats, and then jointed, seasoned and fried them. A few others were baked in apple butter, then seasoned and grilled or fried. The small pieces of meat along the ribs, neck and back were boned and cooked in a mushroom/wine sauce and served over white rice. All muskrats were first brined (soaked in cold saltwater) for 4 hours before cooking.
A side dish of turnip greens soup rounded out the plate. Chef Johnny Belew who lives in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, makes the tasty soup at Claunch’s Café in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Belew, who’s also a local musician, graciously shared his recipe. I tweaked it a little. A dash or two of hot sauce seemed to make everything taste just a little better. We splashed it into the soup and laid the muskrat quarters on a light bed of Sriracha sauce.
Muskrat Ingredients – Pan Fried
4 muskrats dressed (head, musk glands & all fat removed) and brined
3 cups flour
3 eggs or equivalent egg white liquid mixture
Salt, pepper, sage, lemon pepper
½-cup bacon fat (Rendered)
Preparation: Add muskrat to large stock pot. Cover with water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water. Add 4 tablespoons of pepper and 3 tablespoons of sage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, parboiling about 90 minutes. Drain muskrats, joint into sections. Dip muskrats in egg, then dredge in flour seasoned with salt and lemon pepper. Fry in cast iron skillet with bacon grease until browned. Serves 4-6.
Muskrat Ingredients - Baked
4 muskrats dressed (as above)
1 16-ounce jar apple butter
Salt, pepper, cinnamon
1/2-cup bacon fat (rendered) – optional
Preparation: Add muskrats, either whole or jointed to a glass baking dish. Season lightly with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Pour on apple butter, layering over all muskrats. Cover tightly and bake at 225-250 degrees for 3 hours. Remove from oven, sprinkle again with cinnamon and serve; alternately, sprinkle with cinnamon and quickly finish fry in hot bacon grease. Serves 4-6.
Mushroom Wine Sauce Ingredients
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chopped mushrooms
¼ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon creole seasonings
3 tablespoons dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 cup chopped muskrat meat
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: In saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and flour to make a roux. Cook for a minute, then add vegetables and seasonings. Cook until vegetables are soft, but not browned. Stir in red wine and cook another minute. Then, slowly stir in broth. Add meat and simmer few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add flour to thicken (To avoid lumps, mix flour into small amount of broth or water in a cup to form a paste. Stir in a little gravy to thin the paste. Then, slowly whisk paste into gravy). Serve over rice or noodles.
Easy Greens and Beans Soup
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ pound smoked sausage, cut into ½ to 1-inch cubes
Pinch creole seasonings (we like Konrico or Chacheres)
Pinch garlic powder
½ pkg. dry vegetable soup mix (we used Knorr vegetable recipe mix)
1 12-oz. bag frozen turnip greens (we use the kind that includes some chopped turnips)
1 can white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini), rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
Salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste
Preparation: Cook onion and sausage in oil over medium heat in a large pot until onions are soft and sausage has rendered fat. Pour or blot excess fat from pan, saving the fond on bottom of pot. Add soup mix and seasonings and stir for a few seconds. Then, add broth and scrape fond into the liquid. Add water, greens and beans. Bring to boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer about 90 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Serve with warm cornbread. Serves 4.