Friday, December 28, 2012

Braised Quail with Wild Rice

So here's my big Christmas adventure with an ingredient I've never used before.  And using my own recipe that I came up with using what I know of poultry.  Wow, that sounds as dumb as I thought it would.

The one thing I wasn't expecting was for the quail to come out of the package stretched out, and not wanting to tuck in.  I hadn't planned on enough time to truss them, and they cooked with their legs stuck out in rather indelicate positions.  In my defense, I just saw a commercial with a quail on a bed of rice that looked just like mine did.  If you do want to truss them, which would take about two minutes apiece, I would tie the legs together, cross the strings under the back, cross them over the breast (which will hold in the wings), and tie them to the neck stump.  Remember to take off the string before serving.

I also wished I had picked up a jar of gravy.  The rice wasn't dry, and the pomegranate seeds both gave it a zing and festive color.  But, since I hadn't made a sauce, gravy would have been nice.  You could reduce some of the cooking broth, but there isn't enough fat in the quail to make a gravy of its own.

1 oz bacon fat (or lard or salt pork) or 1 Tb oil
6 quail (1 pack), thawed
6 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
1 14oz can chicken broth (low salt if you can get it, or at least reduced-sodium)
*1 tsp thyme
*1 Tb dried parsley flakes
1/2 C white wine
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 C wild rice mix (I got some out of the bins at Sprouts that was brown rice, black rice, and wild rice, or you could buy a package)
*1 tsp dried sage
salt to taste
1/2 C pomegranate seeds (optional)

For the rice
1.  Bring 1-1/4 C water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Stir in rice, sage, and a bit of salt.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring once half an hour in.  Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside, covered.

For the Quail
1.  Once the rice is about halfway cooked, stuff each quail with a clove of garlic.  Truss, if desired.  In a deep frying pan with a lid, render the fat from the pork or heat oil.  Remove solid fat and introduce quail, breast-side down.  They'll probably roll to one side; that's fine.  Sear on all sides until lightly browned, about half a minute at a time.

2.  Add broth, thyme, parsley, wine, and pepper.  Add enough water so the quail are submerged at least halfway.  Bring to a simmer and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn quail to submerge other side, recover, and cook 5-8 minutes more.

3.  Arrange rice on serving platter.  Set quail on top of rice.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.

Serves 3

Difficulty rating :)

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