June 22, 2010

Father's Day on the Grill: Quail with Pomegranate Glaze

I've never been particularly good at picking out gifts for friends or relatives belonging to the male gender. However, shopping for my dad takes the stress of gift giving to a whole new level. He's a simple man with few interests beyond sports and wine (as well as my cat- He really loves my little Oscar) and there are only so many necessary items you can give a person associated with these said interests. Sentimental and handmade items have always had their place, like the hand painted mug or "family portrait" I so meticulously crafted out of crayons and watercolors during my earlier years, but I guess you could say I'm a little old to pass off a gift like this. I can, however, make a homemade meal, something that is just as personal and straight from the heart as the popsicle stick frames spattered with glitter and glue that I used to be so proud of.

Firing up the grill is, with out a doubt, my favorite way to prepare a meal during the hot summer months. I love the smell of the smoke and sitting outside with a cold beverage while waiting for the food to cook. Any special meal made at my house during June or July is guaranteed to come hot off the grill, and Sunday night's Father's Day feast was no exception. My original plan was to make hamburgers and class them up a bit with a smoky bacon pimento cheese spread, however, considering we had just had bison burgers only days before, I decided to go a different direction. I had been telling my mom earlier that week about one of my new favorite restaurants in Dallas, Victor Tango's, and the delicious quail they serve there, so quail managed to stay on my mind throughout the week. I've never attempted to make a dish with the tiny little bird, but how hard could it really be?

As it turns out, not that hard at all. The most difficult part about the whole process was finding the actual quail, but I managed to find some frozen ones at Central Market. But at this time of year, that may have been my only option considering quail (hunting) season is around November, or so my manly, pro-hunting buddies tell me. In my efforts to spruce up the quail and add a little extra flavor, I came up with a pomegranate glaze to brush on top of the quail as they were grilling. It was quite successful if I don't say so myself. I served the quail alongside some grilled corn, which was accompanied by cilantro lime butter, a watermelon, arugula and feta salad with balsamic glaze, and stuffed jalapeno peppers that I roasted on the grill as well. But my real gift to my dad this Father's Day was the cherry cobbler I served for dessert. My dad absolutely loves cherry pie, but I thought a cobbler sounded a little more celebratory of summer. My dad loved it. He loved the whole meal actually. I think it's safe to say that my gift was an all around hit. Who say's you need money to buy a great gift? 

Stay tuned to see the recipes for the watermelon salad, jalapeno poppers, and cherry cobbler later this week!

Grilled Quail with Pomegranate Glaze

1 cup pomegranate juice (I used Pom pomegranate-cherry juice, use any variety you like)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or mild-flavored molasses
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
juice from 1/2 large lemon
salt and pepper to taste
12 quail, fresh or frozen and thawed, butterflied


1. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat.

2. Mix the first 7 ingredients together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour once cup of the glaze into a small saucepan and set aside. If using fresh quail, season with salt and pepper as well. (The frozen quail I used was pre-seasoned).

3. Place the quail, breast side down, and grill for 3-4 minutes until the skin is browned. Turn, baste, and continue to grill for 3-4 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and turn the quail again back to breast side down, baste, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn once more, baste and cook for 1 final minute.

4. Meanwhile, bring the reserved glaze in the saucepan to a boil and reduce by half. Serve alongside the quail.

Serves 4-6 (2-3 quail per person)

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