People and Places

MAKING TOUGH CHOICES: Politics Chatter takes a Swiftian approach to the economy

Not amused: This cat shows off his tags, noting that he is not a freeloader. But reading on he agrees that Bourrie’s squirrel idea might have some merit…

These are hard times for many Canadians. And parliamentarians, I believe, are willing to share in the tough choices that Canadians must make until Our Leader and Canada’s New Government are able to steer the economy back to calmer waters.

I suggest one place where they might start is at Parliament Hill itself. For too long, a coven of cats has been freeloading on the taxpayers’ dime in subsidized housing at the edge of the Hill.

The Internet has a solution we can all live with, one that draws on both the plump and juicy cats and the skills of the chefs of the Parliamentary Restaurant. Let’s cook the buggers up:

Cat Braisé

1 cat cut in serving-sized pieces dusted in flour with salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 artichokes
2 1/4″ thick slices of slab bacon, diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 lemon
3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2-4 cup homemade chicken broth
Garnish of 4 flat parsley stems, 6 leafy thyme branches, 1 bay leaf tied up with kitchen twine Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Snap the leaves off the artichokes until only the tender inner leaves remain. Snap off the stem. Trim the remaining green bits from the bottom of the artichoke, and cut off the inner leaves in a bunch at the point where they are very tender. Pare the tough green outer layer off the remaining stem, pairing the stem into a point. Now cut the artichoke bottom into quarters and remove the choke with a sharp knife from each quarter. Rinse to remove any traces of foin (“hay”) and drop them into a bowl of water acidulated with the juice of half a lemon.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy casserole or Dutch oven. Dredge the cat pieces in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Brown over medium heat, turning regularly, until golden on all sides. Remove cat pieces to a plate and dump any oil remaining in the pan. Add one tablespoon of the remaining oil and the bacon dice. (Omit bacon if you only have access to the thin-sliced vacuum packed supermarket variety.) Sauté until cooked but not “crisp.”

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the onion and carrot. Saute for five minutes, then add the artichoke quarters and the garlic, stir one minute, and add the tomatoes and the white wine. Turn up the heat and reduce until syrupy, stirring constantly, for about five minutes. Lay the bouquet garnish on top of the vegetables. Arrange the cat pieces on top, together with any juice accumulated in the plate.

Pour in enough broth to come halfway up the sides of the cat pieces. Cover and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer over very low heat about one hour or cook in the oven at 350 degrees for the same amount of time. The cat should be just tender and part readily from the bone. Don’t overcook or it will become dry. Check the liquid level frequently and add more broth if necessary. Turn the cat pieces once.

When done, remove the cat pieces to a warm platter and arrange the vegetables, removed with a slotted spoon, around them. Cover and keep warm. Strain the remaining pan juices into a smaller saucepan and reduce over high heat, skimming frequently, until reduced by 1/3. Pour over the platter and serve immediately. Sprinkle with finely chopped flat-leaf parsley if you like.

A nice Prince Edward County Pinot Noir would go well with this tasty dish.

The recipe is from:  http://catrecipes.com/recipes/braisedcat.html

Once the cats run out, let’s turn our attention to the freeloading squirrels, which have been fattened with Parliamentary acorns and peanuts cadged from generaous, if gullible, Canadians:

Pan Braised Squirrels (serves 4) 

4 skinned and gutted squirrels — feet also removed
8 mil olive oil
300g dandelion leaves
300g young sow thistles
100g young dock leaves
150g hairy bittercress
150g nettle tops
3 medium sized onions
100g wild chervil or parsley
80g dill
A few lemon balm leaves
Juice of one large orange
Pine nuts
Toasted sesame seeds
A few dried apricots or raisons
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Half a teaspoon curry powder
Quarter teaspoon of turmeric
Eighth teaspoon cinnamon
1 small chilli
Salt and pepper
Water

Sweat the onions in the olive oil. Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and add the dock leaves sow thistle and dandelion leaves. Boil for about a 30 seconds to a minute. Strain off and discard the water (to remove excess bitterness from leaves). Add this as well as the chopped dill, parsley, nettles, hairy bittercress and all other ingredients to the meat pan. Also add about three cups of water. Simmer for about one hour with a lid on the pan, stirring occasionally to ensure no sticking and add a little more water if necessary. Again serve with good rustic bread to soak up the juices.

This recipe is from: http://www.wildmanwildfood.com/pages/recipes.htm#pan