Italian stuffed quail. I don’t even know if they have quail in Italy… I was at the grocery store uninspired today, trying to pick a protien for my dinner. I almost chose pork tenderloin until I saw the Quail. I have never cooked quail, but Dove is one of the finest birds you can cook. I’ve eaten quail a couple of times, and it was good… so I thought I’d give this new bird a shot.
They had some pre-stuffed quail in the butcher’s case, but I felt like that would be cheating… I did take inspiration and decided to stuff my quail with my own concoction. Here’s how it turned out:
And you guessed it… the recipe/method:
2 quail, partially deboned by the butcher.
1 piece ciabatta bread (~3"x2").
3 roast plum tomatos (look in the olive bar at your local grocer).
~12 seeded olives, marinated in crushed chilis.
1/4 medium onion, small diced.
1 small handfull basil leaves, torn.
3 tblspn high temp oil.
salt/pepper to taste.
To prepare the stuffing, chop the bread, tomatoes, olives, and onions into about 3/8" dice.
Mix with the egg and basil (season with salt/pepper) in a small bowl… now anyone who has seen Alton Brown’s show Good Eats know’s that stuffing is evil. But if you like good eats, you’ll LOVE Cooking Issues- the blog and radio show/podcast hosted by Dave Arnold of the French Culinary Institute. Dave suggests that by pre-cooking your stuffing in a circulator, you can give it a thermal jump start, and introduce a heat source inside of your bird. Plus, quail are so small that the cook time is relatively short… by pre-heating the stuffing everything will be done at the same time, so here goes.
I’ve been sharing the low tech sous vide method with friends lately. Another low-tech sous vide method is sealing food without a foodsaver or vacuum machine. Here’s the ziploc technique I learned from the Cooling Issues Primer section.
Transfer the stuffing to a heavy duty (freezer) ziploc bag, note the seal section is folded back to keep everything clean.
Place the bag into cold water. The water will displace the air in the bag creating a mostly airless environment.
Seal the bag as it goes further into the water… leave just the last bit above the water line and seal at the last moment.
Remove the whole bag from the water… you’re ready to drop it into your circulator.
Keep it in a water bath set to about 60 Celsius for about 1 hour.
Season the birds inside and out, then fill with the warm stuffing.
Sear in a hot pan. Spoon some of the hot oil from the pan over the birds as they sear. Transfer your pan to a 425F oven for about 12 minutes.
When the birds come out of the oven, spoon some more of the hot oil in the pan over the birds and let them rest (uncovered) for about 5 minutes before serving.
Feel free to serve these Italian stuffed quail with your White lasagna that has been cooling.
Ready for dessert?