Quail with Vegetable Rice

As many of you know, I have been experimenting with Quail. These are such strange little birds. There is something oddly unsettling about cooking such tiny birds. Their skinny little legs remind me of frog legs.

Eating quail is so – primitive. I’m sure there must be a proper; delicate way to approach the little birds. If there is, I haven’t found it. We pretty much tear into them. When fully cooked, their legs practically fall of the body. About all you can do with tiny legs is sort of suck what little meat there is off the bone. As for the breast, just rip into them with your fork. No cutting.

Two quail per person seems to be the norm for serving according to most recipes, but in reality it’s more like three. Quail has a slightly gamey flavor. Not like deer or elk, but it is there none the less.

The rice with this dish is awesome! Similar to bacon fried rice; except there are no eggs in the dish. Packed with flavor from the bacon and the birds, it’s a wonderful blend of sensations. Words cannot do justice to the rice. Layers upon layers of texture and flavors accumulating within each grain of rice. Delicious!

Quail with Vegetable Rice
4 bacon strips, halved
8 quail (about 2 pounds)
1 cup shredded carrots
6-8 Asparagus Tips
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
2 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until almost crisp. (You will want the bacon to drape over the birds).

Remove bacon; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Brown quail in drippings. Remove and transfer to a baking sheet. Tent with foil and hold in a warm oven.

Sear asparagus tips in the now empty pan with bacon dripping. Remove and set aside.

Saute carrots, onions and parsley in drippings until tender. Add broth, rice, salt and lemon-pepper; bring to a boil.

Place quail over rice; place one half bacon strip on each. Lay seared asparagus tips on top. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the rice is tender, most of the liquid is gone and quail are cooked.

Remove quail to baking sheet, leaving bacon and asparagus with rice. Pop quail under broiler for about 2 minutes, just long enough to “crisp” without drying out.

Bed rice on serving platter. Arrange quail around rice and serve.


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