When quail season begins, I get a little giddy about it. Something about these fat, little luscious birds that are not only fun to hunt, but they are great to eat. There are several species of quail, but they all taste great on the grill. If you are not a hunter you can purchase quail at speciality stores. If you do, make sure to get the largest ones you can, at least over 3 ounces. You can also buy them boned. I would recommend if you are not familiar with plucking, cleaning, and deboning a bird. I used 6 Quail for this recipe.
The first thing I do is brine the birds for 2 hours. I boil 3 cups of water, then add 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of salt. Add 3 cups of cold water and add birds.
While they brine I make the wild mushroom stuffing
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/3 cup of chopped shallots
- 2 chopped garlic coves
- 2 pounds of assorted mushrooms. (I used King Boletes, Morels, and button mushrooms, use any variety you like).
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup of fine bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano leaves.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, cook stirring for one minute. Add the mushrooms and hit it with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mushrooms until they get wilted and begin to caramelize with color. Add wine and cook, stirring to deglaze the pan and until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the mushrooms to a food processor. Add the cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, basil, and oregano, and process on high-speed to this pace.
Transfer to a bowl and divide into 6 equal portions and roll into tight balls and set aside for the quail.
I wash the brine off the birds, and let dry for 20 minutes.
Once the birds are dry, insert one portion of the mushroom stuffing into the cavity of each quail and wrap the bird around it.
Then take a baking sheet or roasting pan and lay each bird breast side up, make sure to spray the pan with pam for easy removal later.
I season the bird with garlic salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne, onion powder. You can use what ever seasoning you like the best but make sure not to over do it. Take melted butter and brush each bird.
Get your oven going at 400 degrees. In this case I used my traeger bbq smoker and got it going at 400 degrees. Roast the birds until they are tender and golden brown about 25 minutes.
- 1 stick of butter at room temp
- 1/4 cup of white truffle oil
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1 tablespoon of minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- chives for garnish
In a mixing bowl, mix the butter and truffle oil together. Place the butter on plastic wrap, form a log and wrap tightly. Throw in your freezer to harden up while you finish the remainder of sauce, I usually do this in prep stage when I do the stuffing. In a saucepan, combine white wine, shallots and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook for 1 minute. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Reduce the heat to low and keep the sauce warm. Garnish with chives.
This is where my buddy Todd wants to show his plating skills.
This was the first time I let him into the kitchen. It was short-lived though, as you will see what I catch him doing on film. He was quickly escorted to the sink to wash, then out of my kitchen.
After you plate your bird, you want to take a spoon and take a few spoonfuls of the truffle sauce and gently pour over the quail.
This tasted so good it made us all happy. The stuffing was incredible. As my buddy Todd said “Its sort of like a mini-Thanksgiving going on here in my mouth.”
I hope you enjoy.
The Hunting Chef