Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Erethizon dorsatum

Good recipes for cooking and serving the Canadian porcupine are very hard to find, as of course are the creatures themselves if you live in south-east England, as I do.

If you can find one, they are in no way difficult to deal with: a website for (North American) hunters tells us that they “…can be easily killed with a club...” (just like baby seals!), and then you just “slit the belly area, thus avoiding the quills, and, naturally, remove the stomach”. Then you can make Marinated Porcupine Chops (6 chops, a quart of maple sap and 3 fingers of coltsfoot salt), or New England Broiled Porcupine Liver.

Enjoy! as they say over there.

But apparently the really good bit of a Canadian porcupine is the crackling which, according to an early manuscript reproduced by Leopoldt (1976), has a “sapid crispness far exceeding that of pork crackling”. The manuscript gives no recipe, but merely suggests sending it to table with plenty of rice and lemons cut in halves.

Best of all, you can wear the left-over bits.

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