Text and Video by Jacob Lam and Oliver Classen
This recipe honors the underutilized aspects of spring: Groundhogs are often shot as a pest and tossed into a ditch; dandelions are more often sprayed than picked; field garlic is another common lawn weed that rarely makes it into the spotlight. To lift up these underappreciated aspects of Spring, I’ve thrown them in the pot to make a simple but flavorful braise.
Take note, if you have ever smelled a groundhog, or tried one, and been repulsed it is most likely due to their scent glands – little fluid filled sacs tucked under the armpits. Just like you would not throw in the tarsal glands of rutty buck with your venison roast, it is imperative you remove these glands as well as keep the hair from contacting the meat during butchering.
White Wine Braised Groundhog
- Field garlic (wild onion)
- Dandelion heads
- Clover leaves
- White wine (dry)
- Olive oil
- Game stock
- Quartered groundhog
- Allow groundhog to dry in the fridge, or pat it dry with paper towels.
- Brown the meat on medium heat in olive oil and an oven safe pot, then set aside.
- Brown mushrooms and a few pieces of field garlic if you are using the heads. Otherwise, wait to put in the stems until just before the dish goes in the oven.
- Deglaze the pan with about a cup of white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon or spatula.
- Pour in enough stock to cover the groundhog a little less than halfway. You can also add water if needed. Bring to a boil.
- Place in the oven on 300° for two and a half to three hours or until the meat can easily be pulled off the bone.
- Plate and garnish with dandelion and clover.