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Cajun Raccoon with Sweet Potatoes

1 raccoon, skinned and dressed Vinegar water for soaking – 1/2 cup of vinegar to every quart of water (enough to cover the meat) 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon black pepper 1/2 tablespoon salt 3 garlic cloves chopped Large onion, diced 1 cup chopped celery 1 bell pepper, chopped 2 tablespoons flour, and more as needed to make gravy 2 tablespoons shortening (more if desired) 6 peeled sweet potatoes

Soak the dressed raccoon (whole carcass or cut-up pieces) in the vinegar water for an hour or two. Drain liquid off. Using a Dutch oven, place the raccoon pieces in the pot. Add the 2 kinds of pepper, salt, garlic, onion, celery and bell pepper. Cover the contents of the pot with water and put a lid on. You’ll be parboiling the contents of the pot for at least 20 minutes. Use a fork to check the meat to see if it’s tender. When it is tender, pour off the liquid, reserving some to use as the liquid for making the gravy. Using the same Dutch oven, add a couple of tablespoons of shortening so you can brown the meat. When browned, remove it from the Dutch oven and put it into your roaster. Add equal amounts of flour and shortening to start the gravy. Add water back to the roaster to make the gravy as thick or thin as you prefer. Stir. Arrange the peeled sweet potatoes around the raccoon pieces in the roaster. Bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes are done. Be sure to ladle some of the gravy over each serving. This will make a lip-smacking meal. Readers with questions or comments for Dave Kessler may write to him in care of this publication.