While the idea of eating a giant rodent with big orange teeth may put some people off, chefs and hunters agree that nutria are a tasty addition to the dinner table.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the infamous ‘river rat,’ was introduced to the west coast of the United States as a substitute for mink. Although 1.5 million were once trapped each year for the fur trade, nutria fur is no longer fashionable, and wild populations have exploded. A female can have up to 13 pups in each of her three litters per year. They are voracious eaters who devastate riparian plants. Trapping is the most effective way to catch them. Place live traps along active trails, baited with sweet potatoes or carrots. Despite their rat-like appearance, they are clean creatures. They only eat plants and are among the healthiest meats to eat.
If you want to try a different recipe, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a whole website dedicated to it called Nutria.com.
image and recipe from nutria.com
- n a crockpot, layer onion, tomato, potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. Season the nutria with salt, pepper, and garlic before placing it on top of the vegetables. Add the wine and water, turn the crockpot to low, and cook until the meat is tender (about 1-1/2 hours). Serve with vegetables and demi-glace on the side.