Pat Gallagher’s Smothered Quail

I’m not nuts about quail. As cute as the little birds are, I find their flavor not sufficiently interesting to justify the amount of work involved in eating them. So it’s saying something when I tell you that I would never turn away from any quail dish prepared by Pat Gallagher. Gallagher has operated a number of restaurants over the years on the North Shore. (The current one is Gallagher’s Grill.) Quail was always a great specialty. None were pretentious dishes. Just fresh, prepared simply and very, very well. Now that quail are relatively easy to buy fresh, consider trying this one night.

Lamb and Quail at Gallagher's.

Lamb and Quail at Gallagher’s.

  • 8 quails, partially deboned and split
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Season the quail front and back with salt and pepper or Creole seasoning.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and bring it to bubbling. Sauté the quails for about two minutes.

3. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and cook until the onions are clear. Carefully pour on the brandy and touch a flame to it. (Skip the flaming if you have even a shred of doubt about safety.)

4. When the flames die out, add the stock, thyme and red wine and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for seven to ten minutes, until the quail are tender.

5. Serve two quail per person with plenty of the sauce and dirty rice. (Or not-so-dirty rice, for that matter.)

Serves four.

Serves four.

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