Quail and Grits
Quail and grits, two of South Carolina’s beloved foods, conjure up a folkloric, mythical presence right before your eyes. All across our great state, every community and ethnic group touts their favorite recipe. Each reflects cultural influences. From Native Americans to post Civil War households to the twenty-first century, quail and grits honor the best of times and the worst of times, hard times and happy times, poverty and riches, simple and gourmet — quail and grits are Southern Hospitality in a pretty serving dish.
4.5 cups chicken stock
5 TBS butter
1 cup stone-ground grits
1.5 – 2.5 cups heavy cream
salt, white pepper to taste
fresh lemon zest, .25 of lemon
Bring stock and butter to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Slowly (it is the South) stir in the grits and return to a boil. Reduce heat, allowing grits to cook for 15 mins or until the grits is thick. Stir often to keep the grits from sticking to your favorite pan. Add slight cup of heavy cream and reduce heat, allowing grits to cook slowly for another 10 mins. As the liquid is absorbed, add more cream, cooking grits to a thick and well-done, full-bodied state. Salt, pepper to taste. Stir in lemon zest.
20 quail breasts with skin
.5 cup butter or enough to coat quail breasts as cooked
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat a large sauté pan to the high temperature. Melt the butter in the pan (don’t brown it). Season the bird with salt and pepper. Place quail breasts into pan skin side down. Leave flame on high long enough for the pan to recover its heat, then turn flame down to medium or medium high. The object is to sear the breasts quickly so they to medium, but the skin is dark golden brown. Once you’ve achieved that, flip the breasts and cook until done.
Quail and Grits Sauce
6 or 10 (to your liking) thick slices of good bacon, chopped
3 TBS flour (bread flour has the best cooked flavor)
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 medium yellow or red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
.25 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
.5 tsp hot sauce
1.5 cups heavy cream
salt/pepper to taste
Sauté bacon, to render fat, until almost crisp. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and mushrooms. Sauté until bacon is crisp and veges are transparent. Remove bacon and veges to drain. If you have less than 2.5 TBS fat in skillet, add butter to equal 2.5. Bring fat to high heat, stir in flour. Work flour in fat to make a dark roué. Salt/pepper taste. Add chicken stock, worcestershire, hot sauce…yes, it will appear lumpy…that cooks out as the sauce thickens. Gently add heavy cream along with the bacon and veges. Return to temp and serve.
Grits is … Grits are
Grits is a “is” word…and, a dead givaway to where you were raised. In the South we say, “Ummmmmmm, emerson fine lookin’ aigs, I’ll have sum a em, sum beckon, when them there grits is dun, under sum fawl. I’ll be skippin’ da coal ciril.” (Ummmmm, those are fine looking eggs. I will have some of them and some bacon, when the grits are done, in aluminum foil to go. I will skip the cold cereal.)
Thank you for joining us Bloomsbury Inn, HAPPY COOKING, and may your plate overflow with Quail and Grits.