Stuffed Quail Gumbo

Stuffed Quail Gumbo

Stuffed Quail Gumbo

This dish is sort of a gumbo in reverse: quail, roasted to a deep golden brown, is stuffed with dirty rice and smothered in a chocolate-colored purée of roux, andouille, duck, and vegetables. As you slice the quail, the dirty rice falls out, spilling into the bowl and mixing with the sauce.Chris Granger

On the North Shore of New Orleans, you will find a roadside-motel-turned-comfy-farmhouse called La Provence. The John Besh-owned restaurant was opened in 1972 by the late chef Chris Kerageorgiou, whose legacy lives on in this unforgettable puréed gumbo. Now prepared by chef de cuisine Erick Loos, the dish is sort of a gumbo in reverse: quail, roasted to a deep golden brown, is stuffed with dirty rice and smothered in a chocolate-colored purée of roux, andouille, duck, and vegetables. As you slice the quail, the dirty rice falls out, spilling into the bowl and mixing with the sauce.

Stuffed Quail Gumbo
Dirty rice-stuffed quail is served with puréed gumbo at La Provence restaurant in Lacombe, Louisiana.
Yield: serves 8

For the Gumbo

  • ¾ cups canola oil
  • ¾ cups flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • ⅓ cups tomato paste
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • ½ lb. andouille, sliced crosswise 2" thick
  • 2 oz. okra, trimmed and sliced ½" thick
  • ¼ cups Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Quail

  • 1 tbsp. rendered bacon fat or canola oil
  • 1½ cups cooked long-grain white rice, cooled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, minced
  • ½ small white onion, minced
  • ½ cups bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 quail, back and breast bones disarded
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • Minced hard-boiled egg and chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the gumbo: Heat oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over high and sprinkle in flour; make a dark roux. Cook garlic, bell pepper, onion, and celery until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 3 minutes. Add stock; boil. Reduce heat to medium; add andouille, okra, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until gumbo is reduced by a third, 1½–2 hours. Transfer half the andouille to a cutting board; mince and set aside. Discard bay leaf, and working in batches, purée gumbo in a blender until smooth. Keep gumbo warm.
  2. Make the quail stuffing: Melt bacon fat in a 12" skillet over medium-high. Cook rice, garlic, scallion, bell pepper, and onion until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in reserved minced andouille, 1 cup gumbo, the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper; let cool.
  3. Stuff the quail and bake: Heat oven to 475°. Season quail with salt and pepper. Spoon stuffing into the cavity of each quail; transfer to a 9"x13" baking dish and sprinkle with paprika. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°, about 25 minutes. Divide quail between 8 bowls and top with gumbo; garnish with minced egg and chives.