By Roxy Wilson, owner of Wildrose Suzy, Cora & Roxy
Cool weather and Fall color always turn my culinary mind to soup. That, and a gift of eight beautiful quail (clean with no extraneous shot or feathers) from Alan Newton and Wildrose Shadow led me to create this hearty stewp. This term was coined by Rachel Ray as a cross between a stew and a soup. My dish fits the definition of a stewp because of the density of ingredients. It resembles minestrone because of the ditalini pasta I used. Addition of a can of black-eyed peas or white beans would also fit a minestrone.
A smokey background flavor in the broth highlights the role of the quail in the flavor profile. In this preparation I used bacon to achieve the smokiness. Another possibility is the use of a carcass of any kind of smoked fowl (chicken, quail, etc.) in the stock. Or, a few drops of liquid smoke also does the job. (Be careful with this very potent ingredient.)
8 whole quail
2 qt water or chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 large stalks of celery, diced with tops reserved for later
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
4 slices of bacon (or smoked carcass, or a few drops of liquid smoke)
1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed and sliced into 1 inch ribbons
1 can RotelTM, mild or original
1 can diced tomatoes, any variety
[1 can black-eyed peas or white beans]
1 cup ditalini pasta
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
Grated Parmesan Regiano
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, fry the bacon until crisp enough to crumble. Remove the bacon and add the diced onion, carrot, celery and garlic.Season with a bit of salt and pepper and saute until the onions begin to sweat. Add the white wine and stir to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan; boil a few minutes until most of the wine evaporates.
- Add the water or stock, 8 whole quail and any available smoked carcasses.If you are using liquid smoke, add it here. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the quail breasts are just cooked. (Don’t overcook the quail meat here, because it goes back in the soup later.) Remove the whole quail and allow them to cool. Skim as much froth from the top of the stock as you can.
- Remove breasts from the whole quail, along with as much leg meat as you have patience for.Return the carcasses to the stock and cook for about 10 more minutes. You may need to add more stock/water as the broth cooks down. Wash the mustard greens, remove the stems and slice into about 1-inch ribbons. Chop the reserved celery tops.
- Remove the carcasses from the stock.Add the canned tomatoes (including liquid), mustard greens and celery tops. Season the stewp with oregano, thyme, salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Be careful not to overwhelm to flavors of the stewp with heat from Rotel or red pepper flakes. To this end, I chose mild Rotel and a pinch of red pepper flakes. (Add beans here if using). Cook for about 5 minutes. Return the quail meat to the stewp.
- Add 1 cup of dry ditalini pasta.At this point, make sure there is plenty of liquid in the stewp, because the pasta will absorb some as it cooks. Cook for the time given on the package; do not overcook pasta. When finished cooking, remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste.
- To serve, top the stewp with crumbled bacon and grated parmesan.Add garlic bread and the wine you used to deglaze the pot.