Squirrel, rosemary & potato rösti

I like this rösti because it’s so very different, which probably has something to do with the squirrel – although lamb, pheasant or rabbit would be good contenders for a substitute. I’ve also done a very similar – and equally delicious – thing with wild oysters on a blustery beach on the isle of Islay in Scotland, but that’s another story. Use a good non-stick pan for cooking this all-in-one supper dish – it will make everything easier. 


1 oven-ready squirrel (about 250g/9oz, jointed
on the bone), or 4 pheasant or 2 chicken thighs on the bone, or 1 small rabbit
( jointed)

2 potatoes (about 400g/14oz) – choose a white, floury variety, such as Wilja, King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled and coarsely grated

2 rosemary sprigs

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

fried egg, to serve (optional)

green salad, to serve (optional) 


Use a sharp knife to take the meat off the bone – the largest proportion of which is on the hind legs of the squirrel, but there’s also meat to remove on the saddle and front legs. Place the meat on a board and chop it into small, 3–5mm (1⁄8–1⁄4in) pieces, so that you make a chunky mince. (If using pheasant breasts, or other alternative, chop into small pieces.) Set aside.

Squeeze out as much starchy liquid from the grated potato as possible – pick up small amounts and squeeze it really hard in your hands, letting the liquid run off. Once you’ve squeezed all the potato, place it in a bowl and add the squirrel meat. Crudely tear the rosemary sprigs into the bowl, season well with salt and pepper and use your hands to tumble everything together.

Heat the olive oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat. Scatter in the potato-and-squirrel mixture, creating an even layer in the pan. Use the back of a spatula to press it down so the top is relatively smooth and you have an even shape.

Once you’ve got a nice, flat layer and you can hear it sizzling away, turn the heat right down to low. Cook the rösti for 12–15 minutes, occasionally pressing it down with a spatula, until the underside has taken on some colour (carefully free it with the spatula to take a look). When it has, carefully flip over the rösti in one piece.

If you’re having trouble, invert it out of the pan onto a plate, then slide it from the plate back into the pan.

Cook the other side for 12–15 minutes, until it’s crispy and browned, then invert the rösti onto a plate. Serve it topped with a fried egg and/or a sharply dressed green salad.