{ Sausage Stuffed Quail with Spicy Sorghum Sauce and Fried Apples }

October 15, 2014

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This month I am the featured “Food Blogger of the Month” over on The Local Palate, which is a huge honor that I was delighted to receive. Yesterday they published an essay that has long been percolating in my brain- What Makes Us Southern. This is something I feel strongly about, because as a North Carolinian I am routinely told by other southerners that North Carolina is, in fact, not the “real South.” This is something that I routinely reply with “that’s rude” and often “I actually live further South than you do in your “real Southern” city (I’m looking at you, Atlanta and Birmingham). My point in the essay is that what defines the South is not a cultural stereotype or even a strict geographical region, it’s a spirit, a culture, a community. And that community is big enough for all of us Southerners.

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The Local Palate also invited me to dig through their archives for a recipe that I thought perfectly represented this glorious fall season and recreate it in my kitchen. After looking through all of my options (and there were a ton) I settled on sausage stuffed quail with a sorghum barbeque sauce and fried apples. So… heaven?

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The sauce was sorghum based, which made for a sweet and spicy experience. Sorghum is a grain that is native across the world, from the Tarahumara sorghum of Mexico to the bicolor sorghum of Africa, which is used to make the molasses-like syrup we know and love across the South. The sauce blends the sweet and rich sorghum with tomatoes, vinegar, and spices and the result is a brighter take on a traditional barbeque sauce.

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Cooking with quail was a new experience for me, but one that I enjoyed tackling. Quail is beloved game for the holiday table in our house, so I had a good idea of what I was getting myself into. I stuffed the quail with ground chorizo sausage and after a quick sear in bacon fat they went into the oven, coming back out fifteen minutes later crisp and browned and smelling heavenly.

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Accompanying the quail was a big batch of fried apples, essentially apple pie filling without the dough. Which, paired with the saucy and the flavor of the quail, hit the spot. I served this with a kale and apple salad and a big batch of garlic skillet smashed potatoes.

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I’ve long admired the work that The Local Palate is doing, bringing into focus the food culture of the South, a food culture that is seeing a tremendous shift back to its roots. This recipe, like all of their recipes, blends food traditions from all over the South into a dish that represents perfectly the culture that I love so dearly. Not to mention it’s the ideal recipe to ring in one of the South’s most incredible seasons.

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Stuffed Quail with Spicy Sorghum Sauce and Fried Apples
adapted from The Local Palate

sorghum barbeque sauce:

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1/4 sweet onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup tomato paste

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sorghum

2 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp spicy brown mustard

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

fried apples:

4 large honeycrisp apples

4 pats of butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

Pinch of salt

sausage stuffed quail:

8 quail

1/2lb chorizo sausage

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

1 tbsp bacon fat

Begin with your barbeque sauce. In a sauce pot heat your oil. Add garlic and onion to the pot and cook until they begin to brown. Stir in tomato paste and stir until it caramelizes. Add in vinegar, water, sorghum, ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, and salt. Stir well and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours.

While your sauce is simmering, slice your apples. Melt butter in a pan and add in the apples, brown sugar, and spices. Stir to coat the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender but still have a crunch. Stir in lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

Heat your oven to 350F. Stuff each bird with 2 tbsp of sausage. Melt bacon fat in a skillet and salt and pepper the quail. Sear in the skillet for 1 minute on each side, and then transfer to a rack sitting on a baking sheet. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the quail reaches 140F.

Transfer your quail to a serving dish and brush with sauce. Serve alongside fried apples immediately.

{ Lovely Internet 10.10.14 }

October 10, 2014

10.10.14

1. Get out the vote! 

2. This makes me incredibly, overwhelmingly, completely happy. Congratulations, North Carolina. It’s about damn time.

3. Nothing makes me quite so proud to be a Southerner than reading essays like this.

4. PREACH.

5. Columbus Day. (This book blew my mind when I read it in high school and has heavily informed the way I teach my students the history of our state, country, and world.)

6. I’ll be adding this podcast into my rotation.

7. Two ridiculously big book deals, compared.

8. Good for her.

9. A chance to win a multisport watch that I completely love by a blogger who is awesome.

10. Taxis, gender, and power.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

{ Stormy Scuppernong }

October 6, 2014

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Lately my drink of choice has been the Dark and Stormy. Actually, I can’t get enough of any combination of spicy/strongly flavored spirits mixed with my beloved ginger beer. From the Honey Buck to the Dark and Stormy it’s my preferred cocktail for nights out at restaurants to afternoons spent relaxing on the porch, and everything in between.

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I made an impulse decision a few weeks ago to buy a bunch of scuppernongs. The season is fleeting and I knew I’d find a way to use them that would make the most of this local favorite. After much deliberation (read: procrastination) I threw them, whole, into a pot to simmer with brown sugar, a little lemon juice, and water. They boiled down and down and down until I had a lovely dark brown simple syrup. When I tasted it everything clicked- what the syrup really needed was some black spiced rum and a splash of ginger beer. Of course.

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What can I say, I just do what the syrup demands. Twist my arm! I filled my mixer with fresh lime juice, a few glugs of Kraken, and my syrup. Topped off with Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer (is there anything better? I’m not sure), and I had invented my new favorite drink, the Stormy Scuppernong.

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Stormy Scuppernong

scuppernong syrup:

2 cups fresh scuppernong grapes

1 cup brown sugar

3 cups water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Juice of 1 lemon

cocktail (serves 2):

1 lime

3 jiggers black spiced rum

2 jiggers scuppernong syrup

1 bottle ginger beer

To make the syrup combine all ingredients over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until grapes have burst. Press through a fine mesh strainer. If the syrup is too thick to pour, whisk in a bit of water until it is the desired consistency. Chill.

To mix your cocktail combine rum, lime juice, and syrup in a mixer with a handful of ice. Shake well. Strain and pour into your serving glasses. Top with ginger beer. Serve and enjoy!