Quail: Grilled Quail with Chocolate Gravy
Source of Recipe
From "The Southerner's Cookbook" by the editors of Garden & Gun
"It's time to talk about quail and chocolate. Wait—don't stop reading. There is a reason these two ingredients should be married, and chef Robert Newton has figured it out. It's not a far leap if you take a moment to consider classic Mexican moles built with a touch of bitter chocolate and usually spooned over poultry. Newton, who grew up in Arkansas and now feeds New Yorkers' fried-chicken fixation at his restaurant Wilma Jean, has a particular fondness for chocolate gravy, a slurry of cocoa powder, sugar, flour, and milk that he remembers seeing cooling on stoves in countless kitchens in the Ozarks. "Chocolate gravy is one of those lost things," he says. The birds are given an aggressive spice rub, then grilled quickly over a hot flame. Pool the gravy on a plate, add a bird, drizzle with a little more gravy, and then shave some Virginia peanuts on top. It's a beautiful marriage, Southern style."
List of Ingredients
For the Quail:
◦ 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
◦ 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
◦ 5 allspice berries
◦ 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
◦ 1 tablespoon benne seeds
◦ 1 large clove garlic
◦ ½ teaspoon kosher salt
◦ ¼ cup canola or other neutral oil
◦ ¼ cup orange juice
◦ 8 quail, semi-boneless (breastbone and backbone removed, with legs and wings intact)
◦ 6 to 8 large peanuts
For the Gravy:
◦ ¼ cup cocoa powder
◦ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
◦ 1 ¼ cups whole milk
◦ 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
◦ 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
◦ ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
◦ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the quail:
Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and allspice berries in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then grind spices in a small bowl and add the paprika and benne seeds. Mix well.
Chop the garlic, sprinkle it with salt, and mash into a paste on the cutting board using the side of a knife. Add the garlic, oil, and orange juice to the spices and mix thoroughly. Snip the wing tips off the quail. Place quail in a shallow baking dish, pour the rub over the quail, turning to coat, then cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator, and marinate for at least 1 hour but no longer than 6 hours.
Prepare a medium-hot grill and cook each bird for 7 to 9 minutes, turning once, until medium-rare.
For the gravy:
Combine the cocoa powder, flour, milk, sugar, salt, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes, whisking often to eliminate lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. The sauce can be reserved while the quail cooks; just loosen it with a few tablespoons of water as you reheat it.
To assemble the dish:
Pool a ladleful of gravy on a plate, top each with two quail, drizzle with chocolate gravy, and then, using a Microplane grater, shave peanuts over each bird.