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Quail and Dumplings site

William Dissen, chef-owner of The Market Place Restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, provides his adaptation of the classic chicken and dumplings recipe. Preparing the velouté sauce in a cast iron Dutch oven allows for the development of rich, deep flavor when cooking the roux, as does pan searing the quail breasts in a cast iron skillet. French Perigord black truffles are now available in western North Carolina and add an earthy flavor to this unique interpretation of chicken and dumplings.

Reprinted with permission from Lodge Cast Iron Nation

Servings: 6

Ingredients:
Veloute sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) celery
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) carrot
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) fennel bulb
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Dumplings
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
1 tablespoon sliced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Quail
6 quail, cut into breasts and legs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled

Garnish
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
Aleppo pepper
1 1/2 ounces black truffles (optional)

Directions:

For the sauce:

  1. Heat the butter and oil together in a Lodge 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the onion, celery, carrot and fennel, and cook, stirring, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Continue to stir, and reduce the wine to a glaze, then sprinkle in the flour and cook for about a minute, stirring, to create a roux. Whisk in the stock, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then reduce the heat
to medium, stir in the cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the parsley. Taste and season as necessary. Keep warm.

For the dumplings:

  1. Bring the stock to a light simmer in a large saucepan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, chives, salt and pepper together. Form a well in the center and add the buttermilk, beaten egg and melted butter. Mix the flour into the wet ingredients. Add more buttermilk as necessary to yield a wet but stiff dough.
  3. Working with 2 teaspoons, form the batter into oval dumplings the size of the teaspoon, adding them to the simmering stock as they are formed (you need 24 dumplings). Lightly poach the dumplings until they are firm, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dumplings to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

For the quail:

  1. Place the quail legs in the still-simmering liquid used
 to poach the dumplings and poach until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the liquid with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the bones. Reserve the meat and discard the bones.
  2. Heat the oil in a Lodge 15-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Season the quail breasts with salt and pepper to taste, and place, breast side down, in the hot pan. Cook the quail until golden, then turn over, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Spoon the oil out of the skillet, then add the butter, thyme and garlic. When the butter begins to foam, tilt the pan and baste the quail with the butter until they are semifirm to the touch or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 140°.

For serving:

  1. For each serving, place a Lodge 5-inch square Wonder Skillet on a folded white napkin on a serving plate. Place 4 dumplings in each skillet, and spoon about 1/2 cup of the Velouté Sauce over the dumplings. Sprinkle some of the shredded quail leg meat, sliced chives and Aleppo pepper to taste over 
the sauce. Place a cooked quail breast in the center of the pan. If you like, shave 3 or 4 slices of black truffle over the quail and serve immediately.

Try out these quail recipes on MeatEater: