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Rat Pie Anyone?

Rat Pie
21 Mar

Rat meat is a food that, while taboo in some cultures, is a dietary staple in others.  Taboos include fear of disease or religious prohibition, but in many places their abundance has led to their inclusion into the local diet.  In Northern India the Musahar community farm rats as an exotic delicacy.  In the traditional cultures of the Hawaiians, rat was an everyday food for commoners. In West Africa rats are a major item of diet.  The Giant rat, Cane rat and other species are eaten.  According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report, they now represent more than 50% of the locally produced meat eaten in some parts of  Ghana.

Stewed Cane Rat
This is a local recipe that shows the the South American influence on West African Cuisine.

  1. Skin and eviscerate the rat and split lengthways.
  2. Fry until brown in a mixture of butter and peanut oil.
  3. Cover with water, add tomatoes or tomato puree, hot red peppers and salt.
  4. Simmer until meat is tender and serve with rice.

Brown rats were eaten openly on a large scale in Paris when the city was under siege during the Franco-Prussian War.  Observers likened their taste to both partridge and pork.  According to the “Larousse Gastronomique” rats are still eaten in parts of France and the following recipe comes from that book.

Alcoholic rats inhabiting wine cellars are skinned and eviscerated, brushed with a thick sauce of olive oil and crushed shallots, grilled over a fire of broken wine barrels.

RATS IN THE MOOD (from the Congo Cookbook)

  1. Place a dozen smoked rats in fresh water and soak for 30 minutes. 
  2. Prepare a sauce of tomato, onion, piment and palm oil in a large skillet.  
  3. Drain the rats and remove skin and other inedible portions.  
  4. Fry for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until well cooked.  A true connoisseur eats them piping hot, bone and all!!

Serving tips:  Usually offered as a hors-d’ouvre, they are also delightful arranged on a platter of carrots, lettuce and cauliflower.  Or just slide them into a hot dog bun?

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