the appetizer:

Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Seasonal, Cooking Fresh by Emeril Lagasse, includes recipes like Escarole Soup; Toasted Garlic Romano Beans; and Bacon Wrapped Quail with Sausage, Sage and Chestnut Dressing.



Bacon Wrapped Quail
with Sausage, Sage and Chestnut Dressing

Bacon Wrapped Quail with Sausage, Sage and Chestnut Dressing


Yield: 4 entrée servings or 8 appetizer servings

Quail have always been a favorite of chefs for their delicate meat and robust flavor and are now gaining popularity with home cooks as they become more available from small farms around the country. The key to cooking quail is to cook it at a high heat for a short period of time. Wrapping quail in bacon not only adds flavor but also guarantees that these little birds stay moist.

  • 8 strips bacon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 stalks celery, small dice
  • 1 medium yellow onions, small dice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pounds sweet fennel sausage, casing removed, or mild Italian sausage
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh sage leaves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 pound roasted chestnuts, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 cups lightly toasted, crustless bread cubes
         (from a hearty bread such as peasant loaf or Italian)
  • 3/4 cup turkey or chicken stock, or canned, low sodium chicken broth,
         plus more as needed to soften the bread
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 8 semi-boneless quail
  • Olive oil as needed, about 1/4 cup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 1-pound (standard size) loaf pan; set aside. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the bacon strips on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and some of the fat has rendered but the bacon is still pliable, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside. In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the celery and onions and cook until almost translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking sausage into small pieces with the spoon, until sausage is well-browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in the sage, thyme, chestnuts and cubed bread. Combine the stock and the heavy cream and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the liquid, 1/4 cup at a time and stirring gently to combine. You may need to add a bit more stock, depending on the bread that you use, to achieve the desired consistency. Arrange the stuffing in the baking dish, cut the remaining butter into small pieces and arrange over the top of the dressing. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. If the top gets too brown, cover with aluminum foil.

Remove the dressing from the oven and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Season the quail, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Spoon 3 tablespoons of dressing into the cavity of each quail. Using a toothpick or a piece of kitchen twine, secure the legs together. Wrap one bacon strip around each quail, crossing ends over where they overlap and securing ends with toothpicks. Place the quail on a rack on a baking sheet. Brush the quail with a little olive oil and roast in a preheated 400 degrees F. oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until the birds are just cooked through and juices run clear.

Serve immediately.

  • from:
    Farm to Fork:
    Cooking Local, Cooking Seasonal, Cooking Fresh
  • by Emeril Lagasse
  • HarperStudio 2010
  • Paperback; 336 pages with 152 recipes; $24.99 US / $32.99 CAN
  • ISBN-10: 0061742953
  • ISBN-13: 9780061742958
  • Reprinted by permission.

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