Category Archives: Main Dish

Pan Fried Quail with Bacon and Country Ham

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Quail are elegant and delightful little game birds that you never have to worry about being tough if you able to buy them fresh. And it is getting easier to find them in supermarkets and local butcher shops these days, although many are sold frozen. For the most part, quail are good to make for guests because they can “hold” in a pan for 15 to 20 minutes without drying out.

For this dish, white grape juice is used, which adds a tart flavor to the sauce and as an acid, it easily cuts through the fat of the ham and the bacon.

It is the perfect dish to serve with brunch with a side of grits.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leave
8 quail, spatchcocked
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 pound Virginia ham, cut into 1/4-inch julienne
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup white grape juice*
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Combine salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of the birds with seasonings.

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until it is foaming, barely browning. Add the quail skin side down. Sprinkle with ham and cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until skin is golden brown. Turn the birds over and continue to cook until the juices run clear, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and let the quail rest, covered for about 10 minutes.Arrange the quail on a serving platter and sprinkle with ham and bacon.

Pour the fat from the skillet, reserving two tablespoons. Add the grape juice and bring to the skillet to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute, scraping the brown bits from the bottom, to deglaze the skillet. Pour the sauce over the quail and garnish with  parsley if desired and serve.

Cook’s Note:
This dish calls for country ham which is salt cured, so be be VERY cautious with any additional that you add to the dish, while cooking.

*White cranberry juice, white wine or water are suitable substituted for  the white grape juice in this recipe.

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Quail in Rose Petal Sauce

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In   Laura Esquivel’s Novel,  Like Water for Chocolate, the reader is introduced to this recipe in Chapter 3, where the love sick character Tita, who is a cook, prepared an elaborate dish with a rose, a token of love, given to her secretly by her lover Pedro. She calls the dish “quail in rose petal sauce”. At the dinner table, the meal receives an ecstatic response from Tita’s family members, especially Pedro, who always compliments Tita’s cooking. However, a more curious affect is observed in Gertrudis, her younger sister, not long after eating the dish, who begins “to feel an intense heat pulsing through her limbs.” It appears that the meal serves as a powerful aphrodisiac for Gertrudis, arousing in her an insatiable desire. This turbulent emotion pulses through Gertrudis and on to Pedro. Tita herself goes through a sort of out-of-body experience. Throughout the dinner, Tita and Pedro stare at each other, entranced.

Dripping with rose-scented sweat, Gertrudis goes to the wooden shower stall in the backyard to cool off. Her body gives off so much heat that the wooden walls of the shower stall burst into flames—and so do her clothes.Running outside, the naked Gertudis is suddenly swooped up by one of Pancho Villa’s men, who charges into her backyard on horseback.

“Without slowing his gallop, so as not to waste a moment, he leaned over, put his arm around her waist, and lifted her onto the horse in front of him, face to face, and carried her away.”

The escape of Gertrudis serves as a foil to Tita’s stifled passion. The intensity of the former’s reaction to the meal serves to communicate the potency of the passion that the latter possesses but is unable to express directly. With her primary form of expression limited to food, Tita takes the illicit token of love from Pedro and returns the gift, transforming it into a meal filled with lust. The manner in which Gertrudis is affected by the food and later swept away on a galloping horse is clearly fantastical, and the vivid imagery like the the pink sweat and powerful aroma only exemplifies the novel’s magical realism.

To  be carried away so gallantly,  in a moment of passion………..is magic!

And with that being said, this would be the perfect dish to make for someone you love, especially for a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy!

Updated February 2, 2018

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 quail (or 6 doves or 2 Cornish Hens)
3 Tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup dry sherry
6 peeled chestnuts (boiled, roasted, or canned)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup red prickly pear fruit puree
(or substitute raspberries, red plums or pink dragonfruit)
1 Tablespoon honey
¼ cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 teaspoons rosewater
Petals of 6 fresh, organic red roses, for garnish
Pepita seeds, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the serving platter in an oven set to low. Rinse the quail and pat dry. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and lightly brown the birds on all sides. Add sherry and salt and pepper to the quail. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn the quail, cover, and cook another 10 minutes. Remove the quail when done to your liking and place on a heated platter.

Combine the remaining ingredients with pan juices, transfer to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce into a small pan and simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, and/or honey. Pour the sauce over the quail on the heated platter.  Sprinkle with the rose petals and pepitas, for garnish, and serve hot.

Cook’s Notes:
The original recipe for this dish calls for rose petals, but you don’t want to use petals from conventional flower shop roses—those are treated with fungicides. Still, if you have some organically grown roses in your backyard, or know where to buy them, feel free to use them to garnish the finished dish.

If you cannot find any rose petals, 3 bags of  Tazo Passion Hibiscus Tea is a great alternative to use as well.

You can find rosewater at local Middle Eastern stores.

The original recipe calls for cactus. In this version red prickly pear fruit puree or juice is used and can be found at most health food stores—or substitute frozen raspberries or even use 2 large red plums that have been pitted and skinned, for the red prickly pear.

Another  substitution for the prickly pear would be  dragon fruit , which is closer in terms of the flavor given that both are cactus fruits.While you may not initially equate “cactus” with “edible,” the dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is indeed borne on a cactus. When the fruit is cut open, the flesh is revealed to be either snow-white or magenta pink and peppered with tiny, edible black seeds throughout — quite a contrast to the exterior.The flesh is mildly sweet, some say comparable to a melon. A source of calcium, fiber and vitamin C, the dragon fruit is widely cultivated throughout much of the tropics, particularly in Asia. Its popularity in tropical Asia combined with the dragon reference may lead us to believe it originated in Asia, but the fact is no one seems to agree on where it came from. We do however know it is in the cactus family (Cactaceae), and therefore almost sure to be of New World origin.

If you have a dove hunter in the family, try this with dove instead of quail. In fact, doves may be an even more romantic choice, if you don’t mind picking a little birdshot from your teeth. Cornish hens also work well, as a substitute for the protein in this dish.

 

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White Chicken Chili with Tomato Salsa

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Eating healthy is a must for every one. And here is a diabetic recipe that hits the spot when you have a taste for lean protein and vegetables.Leftover of rotisserie chicken and canned chicken broth can speed up the times you spend making this amazing chili. Serve it with a dollop of salsa and sprinkle of shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese. The salsa is great with chicken or fish, too.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
One 29-ounce can Goya Small White Beans, rinsed and drained (divided use)
4 cups fat-free low sodium chicken broth (divided use)
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 Jalepeno chilies, seeded and diced
One 8-oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 ½ cups cooked , chopped, skinless chicken breast
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 small red onion, chopped

Ingredients:
In a large Dutch oven, sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly.

In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup of the beans and 1 cup broth until smooth. Add to the Dutch oven, the remaining the beans, 3 cups broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chilies, corn and chicken. Gently stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and red onion to make the salsa topping. Top individual bowls with 2 tablespoons salsa and serve immediately.

Refrigerate remaining salsa for another use.

Cook’s Notes:
If you are in a rush, you can always use a  commercially prepared rotisserie chicken that can be found in the deli hot section of your local grocery store or supermarket.

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Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

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This  main dish is an addictive take on ga kho gung, a spicy Vietnamese caramelized chicken with ginger and fish sauce, that is sweetened with onions, carrots, garlic, and light brown sugar.

Adapted from LAURA REGE
Food & Wine Magazine
January 2018

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 whole chicken legs (2 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
I medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 whole Vietnamese Red Bird Chilies
1 Jalapeño pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or scallions, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a deep 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken to skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and brown other side, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour the oil out of the skillet and discard.

Return skillet to moderate heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger powder; cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, and 1/2 cup water to skillet. Bring to a boil, and return chicken to skillet, skin side down. Simmer over moderate heat, occasionally basting the chicken, 8 minutes. Turn chicken and continue basting, adding water by tablespoonfuls if sauce thickens too rapidly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken registers 165° and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the jalapeño, and toss to coat in sauce.

To serve, transfer chicken to a platter, and drizzle sauce over the chicken. Garnish with cilantro or scallions, if desired.

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Whole Roasted Truffle Cornish Hens

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Roasted chicken is one of those dished that transcends the human taste buds, regardless of  where it can be found on the menu in this global culinary world. This dish takes it’s inspiration from a classical French technique of natural basting of a chicken or any other fowl for that matter, by rubbing butter under the bird’s skin. Serve with wild rice and a green vegetable of the season and I promise you that this is one dish that your will never get tired of.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
Four Rock Cornish Hens
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 ounce black truffle oil
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 lemon, sliced into four quarters
8 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, halved

Directions:
Combine butter and truffle oil in a small bowl, Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

Using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off, pipe the truffle butter mixture under the skin of the hens breast and legs. Place fingers under the skin and rub around each individual bird.

Using twine, tie the legs of each bird together. Tuck wings under breast and place the hens uncovered in a glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator allowing the birds to air dry for 24 hours.

Remove the hens from the refrigerator. Insert the lemon, thyme sprigs and garlic into each bird’s cavity. Allow the hens to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 400° F and add about 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish. Depending on your oven, bake the hens for 45 to 60  minutes or until the hens reach an internal  temperature of 165° F.

Remove from the oven and place on a large serving platter. Garnish the hens with fresh herbs and serve with your choice of side dishes.

 All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

 

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