Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Whisk Wednesdays—Cailles à la Normande (Quail with Cream and Apples)

Cailles à la Normande (Quail with Cream and Apples)Here is a challenging recipe. First, you need to find quail. [Plus you need to forget how tiny and cute they are.] Then, you need to have veal stock in your freezer or make some, which means finding veal bones that are just as difficult to source as quail. [Plus you must get over your guilt about veal.] Next, you need to find fatback, or "pork back fat" as my butcher called it. If you can, you must find crème fraîche, or make it yourself the day before, which I forgot to do. Finally, you have to find Calvados, an apple brandy from Normandy in France. I'm sure all these ingredients are much easier to find in the heart of France and not in the Canadian shield of Ontario.

Luckily, Ottawa has a wonderful butcher (Glebe Meat Market) where I was able to buy "jumbo quail". [They still look tiny to me.] Plus I have veal stock in the freezer that I made recently. A different butcher (The Butchery) always carries fatback, so I bought more than I needed last time I was there. As for the Calvados, on one of my foodie field trips last week, I was in Quebec and stopped in at a wine store. Just as I was about to purchase a large bottle of Calvados, I saw they had minis! The only thing I can't buy locally is crème fraîche, and I should have made my own. I used heavy cream instead, and my sauce wasn't thick enough.

After you have all the ingredients, making this dish isn't hard and only requires a baking pan for the apples and toast and a roasting pan for the quail.
Here's a quick summary of the steps:

Bake lemon- and butter-rubbed apples.
Toast buttered bread.
Season quail with salt and pepper.
Tie fatback onto quail breast.
Sauté quail.
Roast quail and set aside.
Flambé Calvados.
Deglaze pan with crème fraîche and veal stock.
Reduce sauce.
Broil sugar-sprinkled apples.
Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves 6 (picture shows half a recipe)

Cailles à la Normande (Quail with Cream and Apples) mise en place
6 quail, necks removed and reserved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 thin slice fatback, 12 by 5 inches
6 small Golden Delicious apples
½ lemon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 slices firm white bread
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Calvados or domestic apple brandy
½ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
¼ cup Brown Veal stock
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

You can find the recipe for Cailles à la Normande (Quail with Cream and Apples) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with their recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Cailles à la Normande (Quail with Cream and Apples)Tasting Notes
Quail are tiny. This sauce needs crème fraîche. The best part was the Calvados. I'm glad I bought more than one mini of Calvados so that I can enjoy Le Trou Normand with the remaining bottles and pretend I'm in the heart of Normandy.

Next Class
• Pintade à la Cévenole (Guinea Hen with Mushrooms and Chestnuts) pages 187-188 {You can substitute Duck breast if you like.}

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Running total: $1,142.78 + $9.49 (quail) + $9.09 (other ingredients) = $1,161.36
($3.10 per serving)

Butter used so far: 9 pounds, 30 tablespoons

. . . . . . . . . .
::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.
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    Sara said...

    This looks SO good! I think I can probably find quail, but I've never actually tried to cook them at home before. You are quite daring.

    Elyse said...

    Haha, I love the intro to your posts. Mental preparation is a big part of cooking. I have to say, this dish looks superb. I've never actually tried quail, but I imagine it's delicious (I'm not a culinary fraidy-cat, so I really just need to go find myself some quail now). And, I will admit to you that while the idea of veal is eh, it tastes sooo good. (Shh, don't tell people I said that.) Okay, I'm almost mentally prepared to make this dish--now on to finding the ingredients!

    Anonymous said...

    Your quail looks absolutely charming.
    Adventuresome cooking at its best! Great photos.

    Anonymous said...

    Omg, this sounds amazing! In my pre-vegetarian days quail was one of my favorite things to eat. And lamb. Mmmm.

    Maria said...

    I love all of the interesting recipes you try! Great photos!

    Melissa said...

    Oh my gosh! Wonderful dish! I didn't know their legs were stuck out like neat is that???

    Anonymous said...

    Your quail look really wonderful. After I saw yours, mine seem so puny and small...the breast meat on yours is much more obvious. The difference between having a butcher with "jumbo quail" and a frozen package of "this is all you can find so be happy with it..." that I had. We did love it, though...very much. I purchased veal stock for this one, and the creme fraiche, and the all turned out fine.

    Monica H said...

    Uh, I'll just admire your pictures and look the screen when I get hungry :-)

    pam said...

    Well, I've got quail, but that's about all! My favorite way with quail is a Nigel Slaters recipe.

    Anonymous said...

    Beautiful!!! :). I just tried this combination of flavors with Lesson 2 of the Le Cordon Bleu at Home - Escalopes de Veau Vallée D'Auge, but with pork chops. :). The apples are def. my favorite part.