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Squab, Partridge, Quail, Pheasant - You Know, Game Birds


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#1 weinoo

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

Anyone have any great recipes for the cooking of any of the above birdies? Of course, what I can get here in NY is generally farm-raised, and probably tastes more like chicken than game.

But while in Paris recently, I dined on some delicious birds; in particular, my pigeon at Spring was great. The breast cooked sous-vide was perfect. So how do I go about this?
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#2 JBailey

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

Of course, you can always find lots to consider at Hank Shaw's Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook site. There is also the September released cookbook Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish by Jesse Griffiths. Between the two, many new thoughts and ideas will be presented.
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#3 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:22 PM

Growing up in France, I had access to these game birds and had a chance to eat them relatively frequently in the colder months, but unfortunately I did not know how to cook at the time.

Now I live in the US and I've only prepared quail because the other game birds are harder to find. The quails were spatchcocked, marinated and then grilled. It's a fantastic little treat. They were marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey (the recipe is from Babbo, here). The recipe works for squab too. I liked the fact that it was a very approachable/everyday recipe.

Posted Image

If you are looking for something more elaborate, foie gras-stuffed quail is a classic. There is a recipe in Les Halles for Chartreuse of Quail that I've been eyeing for a long time.

Regarding pheasant, it's quite good in terrines.

#4 KennethT

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:12 AM

I love doing small birds. You're not going to get nearly as much flavor out of a squab in NY as you would in France. I gather they hang them in France for a few days to age them, but that does not happen here. I've had good results doing squab sv. I typically get a bit more flavor out by first browning the skin in foie gras fat (just a few seconds to get color), then putting in the bag and seal with more rendered foie gras fat. I'll do the MC "turbo aging" holding it at 115-120F (I forget the exact number - but it's in MC) for a few hours (no more than 3) then I'll turn up the circulator to 131 and cook until pasteurized using Vengroff's sous vide app. For the legs, I cook them for like 4 hours at 156F or something like that, then a quick sear in more you guessed it, foie fat.

Like FP said above, quail and foie are a great combo - but so is squab and foie. Years ago, I had at Atelier Robuchon in Paris a squab dish where he rolled a squab breast and a slice of foie (cooked sv, not seared) in a leaf of cooked savoy cabbage, then wrapped with a single slice of gently cooked bacon (so it was tender, but not crispy) with a line of piment d'espelette. It was awesome. They had it for a whle in the NYC Atelier, but it wasn't the same - the squab didn't ahve as much flavor. But I do it at home with the rendered fg and the turbo aging, and it's a little closer.

#5 Baselerd

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

The Eleven Madison Park Cookbook is a treasure trove of game bird recipes. It has recipes for Quail, Guinea Fowl, Poussin, Duck, and Squab (and plenty of Chicken and Foi gras). My favorite that I have prepared thus far was Quail, cooked rare Sous Vide and then seared and glazed on the stovetop:
Posted Image

#6 weinoo

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:24 PM

Now I live in the US and I've only prepared quail because the other game birds are harder to find. The quails were spatchcocked, marinated and then grilled. It's a fantastic little treat. They were marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey (the recipe is from Babbo, here). The recipe works for squab too. I liked the fact that it was a very approachable/everyday recipe.

Posted Image

If you are looking for something more elaborate, foie gras-stuffed quail is a classic. There is a recipe in Les Halles for Chartreuse of Quail that I've been eyeing for a long time.

Those look great - I did see that recipe in Les Halles - a bit more complicated than what I'm looking for right now!
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
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#7 weinoo

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

Years ago, I had at Atelier Robuchon in Paris a squab dish where he rolled a squab breast and a slice of foie (cooked sv, not seared) in a leaf of cooked savoy cabbage, then wrapped with a single slice of gently cooked bacon (so it was tender, but not crispy) with a line of piment d'espelette. It was awesome.

Recently, I had a dish at Mintwood in DC - wild Scottish pigeon breast, surrounded by a mince of the legs, thighs and innards, wrapped in savoy cabbage and then wrapped with a slice of uncrisped bacon. It was awesome!
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
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Tasty Travails - My Blog
My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs
Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

#8 KennethT

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:37 PM


Years ago, I had at Atelier Robuchon in Paris a squab dish where he rolled a squab breast and a slice of foie (cooked sv, not seared) in a leaf of cooked savoy cabbage, then wrapped with a single slice of gently cooked bacon (so it was tender, but not crispy) with a line of piment d'espelette. It was awesome.

Recently, I had a dish at Mintwood in DC - wild Scottish pigeon breast, surrounded by a mince of the legs, thighs and innards, wrapped in savoy cabbage and then wrapped with a slice of uncrisped bacon. It was awesome!

That sounds great! I love when the Scottish game comes into season... my buddies at Ottomanelli used to hold some Scottish partridge for me when they got it in... great, just really expensive though! Sadly, right now I don't have the time to do a lot of fun (read time consuming) cooking so I don't get to see them as often as I'd like.

#9 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:18 PM


Now I live in the US and I've only prepared quail because the other game birds are harder to find. The quails were spatchcocked, marinated and then grilled. It's a fantastic little treat. They were marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey (the recipe is from Babbo, here). The recipe works for squab too. I liked the fact that it was a very approachable/everyday recipe.

Posted Image
H
If you are looking for something more elaborate, foie gras-stuffed quail is a classic. There is a recipe in Les Halles for Chartreuse of Quail that I've been eyeing for a long time.

Those look great - I did see that recipe in Les Halles - a bit more complicated than what I'm looking for right now!


I'm a total chicken head when it comes to anything involving a lot of assembly or requires dexterity. The book says the recipe is challenging, iirc, but that's only in comparison to coq au vin.

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#10 liuzhou

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:42 AM

(the recipe is from Babbo, here)


It seems to have moved to here.

Edited by liuzhou, 15 December 2012 - 03:43 AM.


#11 DerekW

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 05:53 PM

When I lived in Scotland, decent game was easier to find and more sensibly priced. Somewhere I should have notes for a game pie involving a a brace of Pheasants and a some prunes.
Those packs of frozen quail are a staple in our house - rubbed with coarse salt and stuffed with a quartered lime then tossed onto a roasting tray for 'a while', they make great finger food. In playful mood, I've served them on saucers as dinner party starters with suitably tiny vegetables etc; Everyone gets their own entire minature roast chicken dinner.