Sometimes, I think, the best things in life are surprises. Wait, scratch that... they can be the best, if they don’t give you a heart attack in the process!
When I was a teenager, back in New York, I’d go hunting for deer. I started young (in middle school) and continued to do it until my late teens. I’d be out in the field, creeping around, and stumble across a bunch of grouse or pheasant hiding in the bush. Sometimes I’d even bust into these groups of quail, tiny buggers that’d shoot out in front of me, ducking down and then swooping up and away. A faster person might have been able to gun a few of the cheeky birds down before they got out of range, but I never seemed to be as lucky. The only thing I "shot" was my nerves!
In cooking, surprises can also be good and bad. There’s the surprise of ordering a favorite dish and seeing it presented in a new way you can’t help but think: This is pretty good!
Or maybe your "significant-other" convinces you to order (against your will, of course) the fried calamari. You’ve never had it, you have no interest in squid, but when you pick up that first piece and savor the flavor, you’re surprised: Why haven’t I ordered this before!
Of course, there are always the bad surprises. You bite into a sandwich from some deli and find one of those little plastic bread ties inside and wonder how in the world somebody missed that. Or you order the chicken cordon bleu at some other place, and when the server slides the steaming dish in front of you, you gape at how oddly small the dish is and begin to think they’re serving quail breasts instead of chicken.
Those aren’t fun.
But as for good surprises, sometimes you find something in the dish you didn’t expect, some odd combination that just works, and the dish can interest you in multiple ways. Take this quail dish – inside the juicy bird is tender pear, blue cheese and walnuts. You cut through the quail and you find the fruit and cheese inside and you think that’s odd, but then you try it and you’re a believer.
Give this dish a shot – you’ll be pleasantly surprised, in more than one way.
P.S. I'm really looking forward to feedback from viewers who have tried these dishes at home!
- Chef Savage
Pear Stuffed Quail
- 4ea Semi boneless Quail
- 4ea Pears, Red
- 8oz Roquefort Cheese
- 8oz Walnut pieces
- Peel and core pears. Cut off the top elongated portion of the pear so as to make a ball.
- Mix cheese and walnuts together and place in a piping bag. Pipe the mixture into the cored out pears.
- Slide the stuffed pear it into the quail.
- Take the legs of the quail and cross them over each other. Position the legs so that they cover the quail’s exposed cavity. Push a toothpick through the legs, and then through the stuffed quail so as to hold the legs in their position.
- Place the stuffed quails in a small greased roasting pan, cover with foil, and then bake in a 300-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
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