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Here is a recipe from a New Orleans cook for quail.

While processing and cleaning quail, I keep a container with ice in it and put the quail meat in there.  I cut out the backbones, and separate the legs and breasts into separate pieces.  You do as you wish, but I suggest keeping them on ice.  When done, I put the birds in the fridge for at least overnight.  When you take them out, save the water.  It will have a little bit of reddish tint to it, plus it will have a slight infusion of quail meat in it, like a small stock.  Save this.

In a pot of your choice, make what we call the Trinity here in New Orleans.  It involves chopped up onions, garlic and celery Or bell pepper.  When it doubt of how much, use a lot :)  It cooks down.  Sautee with butter and some olive oil and a little salt and pepper.  You can also add some cayenne/red pepper here.  Be careful, a little of this goes a long way.  When you cook these down, take the water that had the quail in it and dump it in the pot.  Turn this to low to keep it warm and put a lid on the pot so you don't let all the water steam off.  You need this to make a gravy when you mix the roux in.  


Make a dark roux.  A roux is the most important part of this, so if you are new to making them, you might need some practice, but generally it takes more patience than skill.  It involves equal parts flour and some kind of fat.  You'll notice that the fat choice will slightly change the taste of the roux, but the flour will give it a generally nutty kind of flavor.  Oil is a generally sound choice because it can get hot and won't burn.  You can use oil and mix in some bacon fat, or even some butter.  Be sure to use equal parts of each, like a cup of oil and a cup of flour.  Translate that to metric if you need.

You can make a roux on the stove, in the oven or in the microwave.  Google it for instructions in other ways, but I'll explain the process of using a stainless steel pot or a cast iron pot.  It gets very hot, so you must have a metal spoon, or better yet, a metal whisk. Put the heat on medium high at first and start stirring to get it going.  It looks like condensed milk at first, froths up after a bit, then smooths out.  Turn the heat to low at this point.  You have to stir constantly, especially making an effort to make sure you get any part of the roux in the corners.  It takes about 45 minutes or so to make a dark roux.  It should look a little reddish dark after a while, then start to darken more.  You'll notice the roux slowly darkening as you stir.  Be careful not to stop stirring for too long, especially later on in the process or else it will burn since the heat is coming from the bottom.  If you burn it, throw it out and start over because the burnt part will ruin the entire dish and overtake the flavor.  When you get it dark looking, you'll want to turn off the heat and remove the pot from the heat.  This thing will be so freaking hot, so be careful.  You don't want it to cool off completely, but if you let it cool down just for a little while, it will be easier to pour into the other pot with the trinity and stock you added.  You can't stop stirring even if you remove it from the heat, because oil will retain heat for quite a while and keep cooking and will still burn the bottom if you don't stir.


Next, SLOWLY dump the roux into the other pot.  Do a little at a time because the roux when hitting the warm water will cause something close to a steam explosion.  Once you do this, you'll truly understand how hot the roux is.  Keep putting little parts of roux in until you have it all.  The steam that comes out of the pot is hot, so be careful.  When you have it all in, start mixing everything up.  It will start to look like a unmixed brown gravy.


Now, there are two ways you can do the next part:


You can add the quail meat into the pot with the roux/gravy, or you can put the quail meat in a slow cooker and cook for hours.   I do both methods depending on how I'm feeling.  I suggest you throw in some other meat like Tasso, Andouille sausage, or some smoked sausage.  Add some additional salt or garlic salt, and add in some bay leaf and some parsley. This basic formula works with any game bird meat.  If you use the slow cooker and cook this for 4-6 hours, the meat will fall right off the bone.  The gravy will embody the taste of the seasoning and meat combination and will taste so awesome that you'll just want to eat the gravy with a spoon and leave the meat!


You can serve this as it, or on top of rice.  I personally don't like rice, but traditionally this is served on white rice.  I sort of think that sucks, so I break from tradition and I like wild rice if I can get it.  My wife is from Minnesota and we pick up wild rice from there when we visit.


You can also within the last hour or so, add in chopped okra, and even slices of lemon.  Right now is when our citrus trees harvest, and a few slices of lemon give this a different taste.  Another option is to add in some red wine.  Experiment!  That's what makes cooking fun.






Edited by craig1267 (see edit history)

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You can be even more creative, and add in carrots, potatoes and onions in layers if you like.  Lots of opportunities to build off of this basic concept!  Give the potatoes time to cook, so add them in with the quail meat.  Depending on how cooked you like your carrots, you might want to add them in a few hours later.

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