I have to say that it is really nice to have a store just an hour away that carries all kinds of interesting and hard to find ingredients as a matter of course. I know, you may be saying “an hour away and you’re happy about that”? Well when you consider it is the closest store of its kind to where I live I have to look at the silver lining. I make a point of stopping at Market of Choice every time I am passing though Corvallis just to walk around and see if they have something I have never cooked with before. This is the same store where I found Oregon truffles, fresh turmeric and those fresh white anchovies sourced off of the Oregon coast, and it is where I can reliably find duck. This last visit I was surprised, but then I wasn’t when I found quail. I have had quail once or twice in the past; usually at a wedding reception, so I was somewhat familiar, but I have never cooked with them before. I walked out of the store with four little birds and some other goodies to be worked with at a later date.
I have to admit that I was somewhat at a loss as to how to process the little guys. They are really small. I turned to U-Tube and found a demo video recorded by one of my favorite chefs: Jacques Pépin. Of course he made it look so damn easy. It was not. This is from the woman who has actually made Turducken from scratch, so I know deboning. The hard part is that you are striving for presentation quality which means getting the bones out but leaving the birds and skin whole. I managed it, but it was stressful to say the least. Just an FYI if you run across quail at your local store and want to give them a try, they do take some work, so not something you want to tackle on a work night. The recipe itself was adapted from one of Emeril’s, which I cut in half.
Quail Stuffed with Mushrooms and Andouille with a Port Wine Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups chopped assorted mushrooms (I used Shiitake, Oyster, Cremini)
- 2 ounces diced Andouille sausage
- 3 tablespoons chopped onions
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Cajun or Creole seasoning to taste
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup port
- ¼ - ½cup bread crumbs
- 4 quail cleaned and boned (see video)
Port Wine Sauce:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup port
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Process mushrooms, sausage, onions and garlic to a coarse paste in the large bowl of your food processor.
- Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add mushroom mixture, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms until they release their water, about 4 minutes. Continue cooking until pan becomes dry, another 2 minutes. Stir in port and cook for an additional 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs. Cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Season the quail that you lovingly deboned with the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil and more Cajun seasoning. Stuff each quail with ¼ cup of the mushroom mixture. Cut a slice in the end of one leg through the skin next to the bone that was left and push the other leg bone through the hole to secure. Trust me, it looks pretty.
- Put the quail in a small casserole dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray and place in the oven. Bake until the quail are golden brown and have an internal temperature of 150° F, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with foil.
Make the Port Sauce:
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook for an additional 20 seconds. Stir in sugar and port. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Add stock and reduce heat to medium. Cook down for 20 to 30 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon thickly. Serve over quail.