Roasted Quail

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ROASTED QUAIL WITH ROSEMARY THYME SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

4 quail, skin on or off; preferably 8 quail
1/4 cup Olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cans (14.5 oz.) chicken broth, Swanson low sodium
1/4 cup green onions plus tops, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms, diced fine
1/4 cup red onion or shallots, diced fine
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon bacon drippings
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dry Sherry
1 teaspoon Wild Bill's Meat Rub
1/2 teaspoon Morton table salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried sage 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns (Tellicherry) to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Rinse quail off under cold tap water and remove any shot pellets.  Pat dry and rub entire quail with olive oil.  Apply a light coating of Wild Bill's Meat Rub, truss legs together with butchers twine and let rest 30 minutes at room temperature.

Place a large skillet on medium heat adding 1/2 stick of butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown quail on all sides.  Place browned quail in a 1.5 quart oven proof dish sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray.

Using the same skillet over medium heat,  deglaze pan with dry sherry.  Add 1/4 cup olive oil and when hot, add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and make a light brown roux, whisking constantly to keep from sticking or burning.  It will take about 15 to 20 minutes to make the roux.  Add green onions, mushrooms, red onion or shallots, garlic and sauté about 5 minutes.  Add chicken broth, whisking to combine.  Season with thyme, rosemary, sage, black pepper and salt.  Simmer 5 to 10 minutes until roux thickens, adding additional seasonings if needed.  If roux mixture is too thick, thin with additional chicken stock, whisking to blend.

Pour roux mixture over quail and bake uncovered for 1 hour to 1 and 1/2 half hours basting 3 or 4 times and/or turning quail over in the roux mixture to cover.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

YIELD:
4 servings

Above roasted wild quail prepared on 12-07-13 and were outstanding.  I could have let the quail stay in the oven an additional 15  minutes or more to get a little more tender but they were moist and juicy.  The roux aka gravy or sauce was a little too pepper hot for my bride and the heat was coming from the Wild Bill's Meat Rub that I had a pretty heavy coat on the quail before I pan seared/browned them.  Farm or pen raised quail will be much more tender than Wild Free Range Quail but the taste quality is better with the Wild Quail in my humble opinion just as is the difference from a yard raised chicken versus a production farm raised chicken.

Click on the sequence thumbnail pixs below for a larger screen view:

SERVING NOTES:  I like to serve this quail dish with rice using the rosemary thyme sauce as a gravy over the rice.  I use long grain rice such as Mahatma brand and add 1 cup rice to 2 cups of chicken stock or water and bring to a boil;  reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes with lid on pot.  If desired,  use Authentic Native American Wild Rice instead of the white rice or yellow rice.  With this dish,  you should serve a very colorful vegetable such as green beans, asparagus spears, honey glazed carrots or tomatoes and garnish with fresh parsley for presentation.  A nice white wine will complement this meal.  Serves four, but if you are serving big eaters you may want to double the recipe. 

The recommended minimum internal temperature of cooked wild quail is around 165 degrees F. but at 154 degrees F.,  they were done with the juices running clear.

It has been many decades since I have eaten Wild Quail and the quail hunters in our family were my Uncles Douglas Ross Coley (deceased) and Jessie "Mack" Coley of which they had top of the line hunting dogs both pointers and setters.  They both used Browning Sweet 16 Belgium made auto loaders and were dead shots too.   Hattie Coley, Uncle Doug's wife prepared BBQ quail which would melt in your mouth and literally fall off the bone!   If memory is correct, she boiled the skinned quail in a water and BBQ sauce mixture and served them over a bed of white rice. 

Uncle Mack Coley's wife Eloise,  would parboil the skinned quail for around 30 minutes in water seasoned with fatback.  She would then roll the quail in seasoned flour and pan fry until golden brown and make a brown gravy using the pan grease and dredging,  serving over a bed of white rice.  

All my hunting buddies and friends either deer hunt or turkey hunt and I will probably have to purchase some farm raised quail the next time I do this recipe.

NOTE:  I was able to harvest a few wild quail last month feeding at one of my deer stands.  I know it is sacra religious to shoot wild quail on the ground, but the opportunity presented itself.

Updated this page on 07-18-12 and added pixs on 12-07-13 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.

The next couple brace of quail that I prepare, I plan to use my standard brine solution to help tenderize and add additional moisture to the wild quail.  The brine solution consists of: 1 quart of water, 2 tablespoons of Morton table salt and 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar.   Mix brine solution and place 4 quail in a one gallon zip lock type bag and add brine and place in refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.  Rinse brine off under running cold tap water and prepare quail according to the recipe above.

Check this link out for the reasons the brine solution works and an excellent table with amounts of salt, sugar and a time table..
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