Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Quail

Do you love wild game? Do you wonder what to do once you have it? A couple of friends had me over for quail a while back, and it was an amazing meal. They blew my mind with wild poultry wrapped in bacon, piled on cheese grits, and smothered in mushroom sauce. My contributions? Squeals of joy and this Chocolate Bread Pudding. Anyway, because I have awesome friends, I was sent home with several packages of quail and a copy of the night's recipe. So here I bring you one of the richest, most satisfying menus of all time: Bacon-Wrapped Quail. (This is originally a Paula Deen recipe, but I haven't been able to find it online.)

Bacon-Wrapped Quail

8 quail
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
8 slices bacon
1 lemon, quartered

Mushroom Sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. flour
6 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, dry mustard, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Season quail with the mixture, rubbing inside cavities as well as outside. Reshape quail, and wrap tightly with bacon, securing with toothpicks. Place quail in pan, breast side up. Squeeze lemon juice over meat, and scatter rinds in pan. Bake 16 minutes; turn oven to broil, and cook 8 more minutes to brown.

Mushroom Sauce:
Combine 1 tbsp. butter and flour in a small skillet. Whisk over medium heat until golden brown; set aside.
Melt remaining 3 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and cook until browned, stirring occasionally (about 8-10 minutes). Add wine; cook until liquid is almost gone, and stir in broth. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. thyme, and garlic. Stir in flour mixture, and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until mixture bubbles and thickens (it will be a while).

Serve mushroom sauce over quail.


This recipe is served over these Cheese Grits, so make them, too!

First things first. When embarking on a new culinary adventure, don't go alone. Enter: Forest. Forest and I are preparing the quail by making sure they're rid of all feathers, organs, and - pause - pellets. Welcome to wild game, people. Forest is using the 3 1/2-inch Paring Knife from the Forged Cutlery Collection to get a pesky pellet out of the meat while I assist by taking a picture.

You know how sometimes you're in the middle of a recipe and you try to stop and measure spices? You know how that's kind of annoying? Avoid minor annoyances (and potential cross-contamination by touching too much stuff after you've handled raw poultry) by prepping everything ahead of time. This is a simple step that makes cooking more enjoyable, and it separates the men from the boys in the kitchen. Besides, how fun are these Pinch Bowls? Don't you want to use them? I just grab an Adjustable Measuring Spoon and do my spice blends for the quail and mushroom sauce before I start anything else.

There's no getting around it: This is kind of gross. Now I know why the directions warn you'll have to reshape the birds after seasoning them. This is one of those times when you want to scrub your hands really, really well after a step. Oh, but wait - you still have to wrap these little guys in bacon! The quail are on the Large Bar Pan, an ideal Stone for large quantities of meat (or sheet cake, Annie).

This was a great recipe to do as a team because I got to wrap raw quail in raw bacon while Forest... handed me toothpicks. It seems those roles should have been reversed because I'm a much better toothpick-hander than bacon-wrapper. Anyway, squeeze lemon juice over everything, and put the rinds around the pan.

As much as I enjoy quail and simply being able to say I had some of it in my own kitchen (pellets and all), the mushroom sauce steals the show. This stuff is amazing, and I'm sure it pairs well with all kinds of things. I'm about to get this going in an 8" Saute Pan, and I'm adding the flour with a new Measuring Spoon. I know you think measuring spoons aren't a big deal, but this set is awesome! These things are heavy duty, and they're curved to dig in ingredients easily.

Things are about to get good! Forest is stirring the flour/butter mixture with the Silicone Whisk to avoid scratching the pan, and I'm getting the mushrooms going in the 10" Executive Skillet. The spatula is from the Basic Nylon Tool Set, and it won't melt when I walk away from the stove.

Forest was the mushroom sauce master, and he had an easy time of it thanks to all of his prep work. White wine and broth were measured in the Easy Read Measuring Cups and Easy Read Mini Measuring Cup. Then there was the herb mixture in a Pinch Bowl and the garlic in a Prep Bowl. With everything ready to go, Forest could focus on letting those mushrooms brown perfectly.

I enjoy eating at home more than eating out, and here's a picture of why. Grab a friend, enjoy making dinner together, and savor the fact that no one will judge you when you use your fingers on the quail because those things are just so darn tiny.

And at this point I will quote one of my favorite movies: What About Bob.
"Oh, Mrs. M., this is sooooo gooood!!!"

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  1. All I can say is wow! My husband and father-n-law LOVED this recipe! The only thing that I added was onion to the mushroom sauce and they can't stop talking about it!! I picked you cause you use pampered chef items, and I LOVE their products!! Thanks for sharing! Danielle from Florida!

    1. Have you made this again since your post? Has it become a favorite? Thank you so much for your kind note!