I met Pearl Edge at the From Scratch Food Festival in Georgetown, where she served her dish of stewed raccoon. Pearl is a rural mail carrier, director of a 42-member youth choir, and a passionate cook. Her spicy stew of shredded meat bolstered by sweet potatoes is similar to goat and lamb dishes found throughout the African diaspora.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium raccoon, skinned and dressed (dressed weight 7 to 8 pounds) white vinegar
  • cup unbleached (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ cup bacon grease
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cup chopped celery
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ medium onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 3 medium bay leaves
  • 6 medium sweet potatoes, baked, peeled, and halved

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°. Wash the coon in vinegar and water before and after cutting it up into about 10 parts. Flour the parts and brown in bacon fat in a large roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining ingredients except the sweet potatoes, cover, and bake for 2 hours.

Remove the coon from the pot. Remove the meat from the bones, place in a baking dish, and pour the gravy from the roasting pan all around, straining out the solids. Place the potatoes around it all, and bake, uncovered, for another hour.

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