If you're not a big fan of turkey, you're not alone: Although the Thanksgiving gobbler is an iconic part of the traditional feast, they can be a challenge to cook. Not to mention that hunting wild turkeys in the fall is a different proposition from doing so in spring! So here are two delicious recipes for a much smaller upland bird that might be more to your family's taste.
1. Quail Texas Style
12 quail, plucked (whole, not breasted out) 1 large onion 3 medium jalapeno peppers, fresh or canned 12 strips of thick-cut bacon 1 16-ounce bottle Italian dressing, oil variety 12 round toothpicks
Wash quail thoroughly in cold water, making sure all feathers are removed and body cavity is clean. Cut onion in half lengthwise, then slice onion lengthwise into slices one fourth to three eighths of an inch thick. Slice jalapeno peppers lengthwise into quarters and remove stems and seeds. Stuff each quail with a slice of onion and a slice of jalapeno pepper. After all quail are stuffed, wrap each one around the middle with a slice of bacon (try to cover as much of the bird as possible), then pin it in place with a toothpick. This works best if the toothpick goes completely through the bird. Place all stuffed, wrapped quail in a large mixing bowl and pour Italian dressing over them. Mix birds with dressing, making sure that each bird is thoroughly covered. Let quail marinate for two to three hours in your refrigerator, and grill over an open fire (hickory or mesquite is best) for 30 to 45 minutes. They can also be cooked in a smoker-type grill, but allow birds to cook approximately three times longer. Make sure quail are completely cooked, then serve immediately.
2. Glazed Quail with Pecans and Marmalade
4-6 quail 1 cup shelled pecans pinch poultry seasoning pinch black ground pepper pinch onion salt 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1/2 cup milk 1/2 fresh orange 1/2 fresh lemon 5 tablespoons flour 2 eggs 1 small can chicken broth 1/4 marmalade
Crush pecans well and roll to powder, or use food processor in pulse mode until very fine. Wash quail well and leave slightly damp. Put quail in bag with flour, seasoned with poultry seasoning, onion salt and ground black pepper. Shake well and remove. Make egg wash by beating two eggs, then add one half-cup milk and beat until well mixed. Then dip quail into egg wash. Roll quail in three-fourths of a cup of pulverized pecans mixed well with one-fourth cup bread crumbs. In a 9-inch skillet, saute quail in two or three tablespoons melted butter. After turning once, squeeze one half orange and one half lemon over quail while in saucepan. After browning, add one cup chicken broth mixed with one-fourth cup marmalade. When quail are almost done, remove them and keep them warm. Dissolve one tablespoon cornstarch in the remaining one-quarter cup of chicken broth to thicken, heat slowly, and then add remaining butter and chicken broth. Pour over quail. Put in covered dish into oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes until done. Remove and use remaining sauce in pan for gravy.