"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Well-cooked birds always make for great entrees in traditional holiday feasts.  We were recently invited to a dinner at a friend's house where grilled quail was served.  It was delicious!  He told us that he got the recipe from the Field and Stream website.  When Kent and I talked about it later, he remembered several other friends talking about a great quail recipe they had found on the Garden and Gun website.  I wanted to share both of these recipes with you before Christmas!  My Dad always sends us home with quail that he shoots when he goes hunting.  I can't wait to try one of these recipes in the next few weeks!

"The Perfect Grilled Quail" - from Field and Stream
(They got this recipe from Chris and Idie Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham)
6 6-ounce semi-boneless whole quail*
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
kosher salt
black pepper

Clip and discard the last two segments of both wing tips on the quail. Rinse the quail under cold running water and pat dry. Place the quail in a large glass bowl with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, sage, and parsley. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hour or up to overnight.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (350-400 degrees) Remove quail from the refrigerator and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Remove the quail from the marinade and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place quail on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cook through (like most small birds, you do NOT want to overcook). Remove the quail from the grill and set aside to keep warm until ready to serve.

* Field and Stream note:  We cooked our birds bone-in, which Hastings says makes the meat even more flavorful. Add a minute or two to cook time. As you may have surmised, the dinner was excellent. In fact, I’ll take quail over any game bird.

Braised Quail with Leeks, Dates, and Cider - from Garden and Gun

by Chef Hugh Acheson
4 quail, gutted and cleaned
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 squash-ball-size yellow onions, peeled and halved
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, whites and pale greens only, cleaned and diced to ½ inch (about 2 cups)
½ cup pitted and chopped Medjool dates (about 6 dates)
Bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, and bay leaf (4 sprigs each fresh thyme and flat-leaf parsley, and 1 fresh bay leaf, tied together with kitchen twine)
1 cup hard apple cider
1 cup chicken stock

Rinse quail under cool running water, dry on paper towels, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff half an onion into the body cavity of each bird, and truss it by tying together the drumsticks with kitchen twine. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil to just below smoking. Gently add all the quail, and crisp on each breast side, about 2 minutes per side, and then brown the back as well. Remove the quail from the pot and set aside.

Using the same pot, lower heat to medium, add the leeks, and cook until the leeks begin to soften (stirring frequently), about 5 minutes. Add the chopped dates, the bouquet garni, and the cider. Cook the cider down for about 3 minutes, and add the chicken stock and the quail. Let the liquid come almost to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down so the cooking liquid is barely simmering, cooking until quail are done, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove quail and reduce cooking liquid until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon liquid over the quail before serving.

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