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VPR Cafe: The Other Dark Meat

vpr-cafe-quail.jpg
Glenn Russell / Free press
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A farm in Springfield, Vermont offers an alternative to the holiday turkey - the tiny tasty quail.  For the VPR Cafe on Sunday, December 1, 2013 Melissa Passanen visited the Cavendish Game Farm, where they raise 300,00o quail a year. 

The VPR Cafe is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press, where you can read Melissa's story.  The VPR Cafe is made possible on VPR by J.K. Adams in Dorset, Vermont and TheKitchenStoreOnline.com.

Here's the recipe Melissa described in the program.  You can find more recipes for quail at Cavendish Game Birds of Vermont.

Maple Rosemary Quail With Apples
8 semi boneless quail
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1?3 cup red wine vinegar
2?3 cup olive oil, plus another 4 to 8 tablespoons for sauteing
1 large, firm apple, cored and sliced into half-moons (no need to peel)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ cup chicken stock, preferably low sodium
1 tablespoon maple syrup, preferably dark or grade B

Pat quail dry. In a large shallow baking dish or other container, whisk together one tablespoon of the rosemary, garlic, salt, about 10 grinds of pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Put quail into marinade, turning to coat. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes and not more than 2 hours.

Set 2 large, heavy-bottomed skillets or saute pans over medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the oil to each. (You should be able to fit 4 quail in each with some space in between. If you cannot, cook quail in batches and keep them warm in a 225 degree oven while you finish.) Remove quail from marinade and pat dry. When oil is shimmering, add quail, breast side down. Cook without moving until skin is dark golden-brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn quail and cook another 3 to 4 minutes until cooked through, adjusting heat down to medium if necessary. (The leg bone should be starting to show on the drumstick.)

Remove quail to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. (It is important to let quail rest after cooking.) Pour off excess fat from one pan, leaving about two tablespoons. Scrape any good brown bits from the other pan into the pan with the fat. Set that pan over medium heat. Add apple slices and remaining tablespoon minced rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes until apple turns golden, and then add cider vinegar. Cook for another minute, stirring. Add stock to pan and bring to a simmer for four to five minutes, stirring to scrape up all the brown bits. Stir in maple syrup and cook another one to two minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve quail with sauce. Serves four to eight depending on whether you want to serve one or two quail per person.

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