Jarad Blanton of the World Famous here in Athens came over Monday and we worked out a recipe for one of his favorite night-off meals to cook for his wife. You can read the full story here, but enjoy the recipe below. Photos by me, naturally.
Sausage-stuffed quail with fennel slaw and smashed potatoes
Prep and cook time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
8 semi-boneless quail (Quail with leg bones intact, but breast bones removed. Manchester Farms and Plantation Quail are two reputable quail suppliers available at grocery stores.)
8 medium red potatoes
For the stuffing:
3 cloves peeled garlic, minced
2 ½ tsp fennel seed (toasted and ground)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
½ lb. ground pork
For the slaw:
3 large fennel bulbs
3 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1 large red onion
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 orange zested and juiced
For the glaze:
2 heaping spoonfuls of orange marmalade
1 cup orange juice
½ C. chicken stock
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until soft, but not mushed. Drain and set aside.
Prepare sausage stuffing. Chop and mince garlic, add to mixing bowl with ground pork. Add toasted fennel seed, red pepper, salt and pepper. Knead ingredients together. Test a small portion of sausage and adjust seasonings to taste. Sausage can be prepared in advance and frozen.
Prepare the slaw. Slice fennel as thin as possible, use a mandolin if available. Slice red onions. Chop dill. Add zest and juice of orange and lemon. Combine all ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl. Drizzle honey over vegetables and citrus. Add champagne vinegar. Add olive oil. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Prepare glaze. Add chicken stock, marmalade and orange juice to small saucepot. Set on medium heat and reduce to syrup. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon. Cook down while preparing quail.
Pat thawed quail dry with paper towel. Place breast up, placing the bird on its back. Run ﬁnger between breast and skin to detach the two, making a cavity to stuff sausage. Pinch off half-ounce of sausage; pat ﬂat and stuff between skin and breast.
Heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the quail.
Lay quail sausage side down into pan and sear golden brown. Flip quail and cook to 15 seconds. Remove and place on wire rack.
Rinse pan and add fresh oil. Cut fennel bulbs into eights and brown each side in pan. Once bulbs are brown on all sides, remove pan from heat.
Heat oven to 425 degrees, and bring another large cast iron skillet to temperature in oven.
Once hot, remove skillet from oven and coat with oil and heat on eye at medium. Squish cooked potatoes lightly with palm of hand, breaking skin. Place smooshed potatoes in skillet, browning each side. Place half birds on top of potatoes, and other half on top of fennel bulbs. Add small balls of sausage to skillets.
Place both pans in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until potatoes have warmed back up.
Spread glaze across the width of a wide plate. Place potato and fennel on top of glaze, and add one quail. Top with fennel slaw and serve.