Recipe courtesy of Bob Carter

Low Country Stuffed Quail with Oyster-Leek Ragout and Hominy Grits Cake

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 12 quail stuffed; about 6 serv
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Ingredients

Quails:

1/2 cup small dice smoked bacon

1/4 cup onion, brunoise

1/4 cup celery, brunoise

1 cup crumbled cornbread

1 cup toasted pecans

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup chicken stock

12 quail

Salt and pepper

Hominy Grits Cake, recipe follows

Oyster-Leek-Ragout, recipe follows

Grits:

2 cups water

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 cup stone-ground white grits

1/2 cup milk (optional)

1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese

1 cup hominy, fresh or canned

2 cups flour

Salt and pepper

3 eggs

2 tablespoons water

2 cups panko bread crumbs

Oyster and Leek Ragout:

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch diced leeks

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup oyster liquor

2 cups heavy cream

Salt and pepper

24 select oysters (4 oysters per serving)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In medium sauce pan, render bacon over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon, leaving rendered drippings in pan. Set bacon aside. In same pan as bacon, sweat onions and celery together until translucent. In a medium bowl, combine sweated onions, celery and reserved bacon with cornbread, pecans and melted butter. Pour enough chicken stock to bind all ingredients so that stuffing can be formed into balls and hold their shape. Stuff each quail with stuffing (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoon per quail). Season each quail with salt and pepper. Sear quail, breast side down, in a saute pan until golden. Turn quail and place in the oven. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until desired doneness is achieved.
  2. Place 2 Hominy Cakes on each plate. Top with 2 quail. Surround with Oyster and Leek Ragout.

Grits:

Yield: 12 grits cakes, 2 per serving
  1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat, bring the water, cream, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to a boil. Stir in the grits and bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until the grits are tender. If the grits need more liquid, whisk in some of the milk. Fold in the cheese and set aside in a warm place to be used later in making hominy cakes.
  2. Blanch Hominy in salted water until tender - omit this step if using canned hominy. Drain. Fold hominy into reserved cooked grits. With a 1-ounce ice cream scoop, scoop mixture onto a sheet pan. Approximately 12 scoops. Cool. Form hominy cakes into cylindrical cakes. Season flour with salt and pepper in 1 bowl. Mix eggs with water in second bowl and season bread crumbs with salt and pepper in third bowl.
  3. Dredge cakes in flour, then egg wash and finally panko (Japanese bread crumbs). Pan fry hominy grit cakes until golden brown. Place in oven to finish heating through, about 5 minutes.

Oyster and Leek Ragout:

  1. In medium saucepan over low heat, sweat shallots, garlic and leeks in butter for 3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add oyster liquor and heavy cream to mixture; reduce by half. Adjust seasoning. Add oysters and poach until plump and just cooked through.