Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seared Quail with Cranberry Vinegar Reduction

Normally, my grocery store of choice is Wegman's.  But I had to go to Balducci's for something that Wegman's doesn't sell, and I discovered that their meat department is filled with all kinds of stuff I want to cook!  I've had quail a few times in restaurants and have always wanted to try it at home.  So I bought some quails.  I bought 8, so look forward to Quail Experiment Part Two later in the month.  A lot of the recipes I considered using involved stuffing and roasting the quail, and that takes a long time.  So I opted to make this faster dish.  The sauce on this is amazing. Especially if you like sour and tangy flavors.  The vinegar reduction is tart, but not so much that the sauce is unbalanced.  The Creole spice blend adds a nice kick to it without being overbearing.  I made a half recipe of the spice blend and have plenty left over in my spice rack for later.  I served the quail with some green beans sauteed with some of the spice mix and leftover shallots and garlic from the sauce.
Not pictured: tons of extra sauce that I poured on three seconds later.

This recipe has three components: Essence (the Creole spice mix), sauce, and the quail dish itself.  But it's still a relatively quick dish.  The cranberry sauce (not the cranberry vinegar, make that first) can be made while the quail is baking.  I added extra Essence and halved the amount of stock because I wanted the sauce to be more tart and less watery.  I think I got the sauce's consistency right.  If I had added the full cup of chicken stock, the sauce would have been watery.

These recipes are from the Food Network

Essence (Emeril's Creole seasoning) 

Mix the following in a bowl:
1 1/4 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Dried Cranberry Vinegar

1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp sugar
3/8 cup water
3/8 cup Champagne vinegar
pinch of salt

1) In a saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
2) Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients.  (Alternatively, pour it into a regular blender, I'm just in love with my immersion blender right now). 

Seared Quail with Cranberry Vinegar Reduction
Serves 2
4 quail
1 Tbsp Essence
1 tsp salt plus a little extra
1/2 tsp black pepper plus a little extra
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup dry red wine
6 Tbsp Dried Cranberry Vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and season both sides of the quail with Essence, salt and pepper.  (I used a little extra Essence).
2) In a large skillet (make sure all the quail fit without overlapping or use 2 skillets), heat oil over medium high heat.  Add the quail and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
3) Place the quail in a roasting ban and bake in the oven until cooked, about 10 minutes.
4) Make the sauce. While the quail is baking, add the shallots and garlic to the pan that the quail were browned in and cook for about 30 seconds.  Deglaze the pan with red wine and reduce the sauce by half.
5) Add the Dried Cranberry Vinegar and sugar and reduce by half again.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low, add salt and pepper, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
6) Remove the quail from the oven and divide among 2 plates.  Spoon some sauce over them and serve with green beans and a small salad.  Keep the extra sauce in a bowl nearby because believe me, you will want more. 

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