Grilled Quail on Vidalia Onion & Country Bacon Spoonbread,
Pinot Noir & Sundried Cherry Jus
from Chef Ben Barker
fresh or frozen semi-boneless quail, 4-4 1/2 ounces each
(defrost in fridge for 24 hours if using frozen)
shallots, peeled and sliced thin
cloves garlic, mashed with flat side of knife
tablespoons molasses (or you can substitute pomegranate
teaspoon fresh thyme leves
tablespoons olive oil
teaspoons coarsely ground or cracked black pepper
Cherry Compote (see below)
tablespoons olive oil
wing tips from quail
oz. vidalia onions, sliced thin
tablespoons garlic cloves, sliced
cup red wine vinegar
cup fruity Pinot Noir (e.g. California)
liquid from cherry compote
qt. Chicken stock, preferably homemade
tablespoon cracked black pepper
tablespoon thyme leaves
thyme sprigs for garnish
1. Make compote. Make spoonbread through step three.
2. Trim wing tips from the quail; reserve for sauce. Make
an incision in skin at base of the breast bone and tuck legs
through to aid in cooking uniformly. Combine marinade ingredients
and coat quail in mixture. Marinate 4 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigeration 20-30 minutes before cooking.
3. Make sauce. Heat olive oil in heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Brown quail wing tips over medium heat 8-10 minutes. Add onions
and garlic and cook until softened and lightly caramelized.
Deglaze with vinegar, wine and compote liquid. Bring to a
boil, reduce by 2/3. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and
simmer to reduce by half, skimming any impurities. Strain
and reduce to 1 1/2 cups. Add black pepper, thyme, and season,
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Light grill (or broiler, if
using). Complete spoonbread and bake. When spoonbread is done,
wipe marinade off quail. Grill quail, breast-side down over
medium hot coals for 3-4 minutes, until well-browned. Turn
and finish on back for 2-3 minutes.
5. Spoon approximately 3/4 cup of spoonbread onto individual
warm plates. Place a quail, breast-side up on top of spoonbread.
Spoon 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of compote over and around. Spoon
sauce over and around and garnish with a thyme sprig.
1/2 cups milk
cups Half & Half
tablespoons butter (4 ounces), cut into pieces
tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
oz. apple-smoked bacon, julienned
oz. Vidalia or other sweet onions, peeled and sliced
bacon until crisp, drain on paper towel, reserve drippings.
Cook onions over low heat in reserved drippings until very
soft and lightly caramelized. Puree in food processor, cool
2. Heat milk, Half & Half, salt, and sugar in heavy saucepan
over medium heat. When small bubbles appear around edge, slowly
whisk in cornmeal and flour, stirring constantly. Continue
to stir as mixture cooks and thickens. When smooth and creamy,
remove from heat and stir in butter until completely absorbed.
3. Beat yolks and cream together until lightened in color.
Gradually add to cornmeal mixture. Next, add 3/4 cup of onion
puree, bacon, and thyme. (Can be made ahead to this point.)
Reserve at room temperature.
4. SEASON GENEROUSLY BEFORE FOLDING IN EGG WHITES.
5. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into cornmeal
mixture. Spread into lightly buttered hotel pan. Bake at 350
degrees until puffy, golden, brown, and just set.
6. Cover with a towel and keep warm while finishing quail.
cups wild sour cherries, or other tart cherries, pitted
(or 1 1/2 cups dried sour cherries)
cup dried bing cherries
cup ruby port
cup Pinot Noir
tablespoons grenadine molasses or sorghum molasses
in a cheesecloth sachet:
whole cinnamon stick
crushed coriander seeds
Combine port, red wine, molasses, and sachet spice bag.
Bring to a boil, add dried cherries, bring back to a boil,
and remove from heat.
Stir in sour cherries, and cool. Refrigerate. Keeps one week.
StarChefs Ben and Karen
Barker opened Magnolia Grill in 1986. The restaurant
is located at Ninth & Knox, Durham, North Carolina, 919-286-3609
and its chefs have been recognized by The James Beard Foundation,
Rising Star Chefs on Public Television, Nation's Restaurant
News' Hall of Fame, Wine Spectator's "Award of Excellence" and
by many other prestigious organizations and publications.
Ben is founding organizer of Share Our Strength's "Taste of
the Nation" event in the Triangle. In 1994, the Barkers initiated
an annual fundraising effort to start The Magnolia Fund; providing
grant assistance, targeted at promoting collaborative efforts
among various Triangle-based AIDS service agencies. One-hundred
percent of proceeds, a total of over $320,000 in six years,
goes directly to grant funding.