To celebrate the day, the lazy blogger is sharing this annual post originally from 2011! However, that’s about to change and routine blogging is about to commence this week. I’m ready with all sorts of goodies for you and I hope you are too…
So, what exactly IS a groundhog? As I researched to see exactly what they are, I learned that they are also ‘woodchucks’ (huh?) or ground beavers! Oh great, that tells me a lot. I’m not sure, but I don’t think we have this particular specie of hog in my vicinity here in central North Carolina. We have hogs with snouts and hogs with tailpipes, but pretty sure no ‘ground’ hogs. However, I’ve been known to be wrong so somebody correct if that be the case. This is a really good pie. I have made it, just was fresh out of ground hog, so I used ‘regular’ hog instead. I hope you will give it a try… with good old NC Sweet Potatoes and some good local pork from wherever you are.
That whole shadow thing has always confused me… as I already have brain overload and remembering this is not of vital importance so I never saw fit to ‘file’ this up there. If he (or she?) sees a shadow, which is it? More winter or less? And best I remember, predictions of weeks of future weather offered up by a ground beaver is about as accurate as our local weather folks when they say those proverbial words… “we’re on the line and don’t think there will be significant accumulation,” only to wake up to a FOOT of snow!
So since groundhogs aren’t worth much when it comes to weather forecasting, I wondered if they may, perhaps, be edible. Always one to explore new culinary adventures, a-googling I went! Turns out, this hog is dark meat, similar to squirrel or rabbit. Now I haven’t cooked either one of those lately either… so I dig deeper. If you get yourself a hog that’s been hibernating, you are gonna need to remove the layer of fat that has piled up under the skin… and while in there, you’ll need to yank out their ‘stinky’ glands. If your hog is a senior citizen, parboiling is going to be necessary before cook’n. (Apparently inspecting the hog’s teeth will give clues as to age, but unless you’re a wildlife dentist, I’m not sure how to know this!).
So, since PIE is on top of all the 2011 trend Lists as ‘hot stuff’ this year, I salute thee, Pie… Groundhog Pie! If you have a favorite Groundhog recipe, do tell… and share it! And MY prediction… Sunny Skies ahead for all… whether you’re east, west, north or south of me… especially to my friends in the midst of Snowpocolypse this week… better y’all than me!
(still learning all the bells and whistles to the new recipe print feature… a few kinks to get worked out…stay tuned!)
Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping
- 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I cook mine in the micro)
- 1 tall can evaporated milk
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (more if you like it hotter)
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- dash cinnamon
- 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
- About 2 pounds lean ground groundhog
(if you must, you can sub ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken)
- 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoon garlic oil, divided
- 1-14 ounce can Mexi-Corn, drained*
- 2-15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
- 1-7 ounce can diced roasted chilies
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
- fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine (cooked) mashed potatoes, milk, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon and salt. Mix well; set aside.
In oven-safe skillet or small roasting pan, brown ground groundhog and onion in 2 tablespoons garlic oil; drain and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and corn, stirring several minutes to lightly toast corn. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook until hot and well-blended and juices reduce. Remove from heat and mix in meat-onion mixture. Add 1 ½ cups cheese into mixture. Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading to edges. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake in 375° oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:1]
Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro! Serve with side of black beans topped with a dollop of sour cream.
* Put corn juice into your freezer soup pot…more on that to come!