Grey squirrel ragù with celeriac lasagne

  • medium
  • 4
  • 1 hour 45 minutes

Squirrel is an unusual choice for a meaty ragù sauce, but when braised for several hours until tender the meat has a wonderful taste – all the proof you need that we should be eating more of this affordable, sustainable and invasive species!

This recipe sees the squirrel ragù paired with thin sheets of celeriac and a crunchy breadcrumb topping, finished with grated cheese. You can buy squirrels from specialist butchers or online.

First published in 2020








To serve


  • Mandoline


Preheat an oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
Place the squirrels in a deep pan or roasting tray and add the stock vegetables, herbs, and aromatics. Pour over enough water to submerge the ingredients fully, cover with foil and braise in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the meat easily falls away from the bones
When ready, remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Pick the meat from the bones and set aside in a bowl. Pass the braising liquid through a fine sieve and reserve
Place a saucepan over a medium heat and, once hot, add a dash of oil. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and capers to the pan, season and cook until the vegetables have sweated down and are lightly caramelised
Add the sugar and fennel seeds and cook until the sugar has melted and begins to caramelise. Add the tomato purée and cook out for a further 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar then pour in the red wine. Allow to reduce by half at a steady simmer
Add the tinned tomatoes, 250ml of the reserved squirrel stock, and the dried marjoram. Cook down to a hearty ragù consistency
Meanwhile, for the pangrattato, melt the butter in a large frying pan. When foaming, add the breadcrumbs and cook until golden brown. Strain the breadcrumbs on a piece of kitchen paper. Once cool, stir through the chopped parsley and season with salt
To create the celeriac ‘pasta’, wash and peel the celeriac and slice finely on a mandoline (or you can use a spiraliser, if preferred). Blanch the sheets in salted boiling water for 1 minute, then drain well. Add a large knob of butter to a hot pan and allow to melt and bubble. Add the celeriac sheets and warm through until al dente, then season and keep warm
Add the squirrel meat to the sauce and continue to simmer on a very low heat for a further 10 minutes
To serve, add layers of the celeriac and ragù to each plate. Top with chopped pickled walnuts, some freshly grated Lincolnshire poacher, and breadcrumbs
First published in 2020

Entirely self-taught, Ivan Tisdall-Downes is proof that passion, hard work and natural talent can lead to great things in the kitchen. At his restaurant Native at Browns, he works closely with co-founder Imogen Davis to showcase the wild, foraged and often overlooked ingredients from the British countryside.

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