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Southern Pan-Fried Quail with Grits Recipe

Growing up in Tennessee, Southern or Country-Fried Chicken was a staple in our home. It wasn't until I moved to South Carolina that I was introduced to quail and discovered different ways to prepare it. —Athena M. Russell, Florence, South Carolina
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. + marinating Cook: 25 min. YIELD:8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 8 split and flattened quail (4 ounces each), thawed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • GRAVY:
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • GRITS:
  • 1 cup uncooked old-fashioned grits
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled, optional
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, optional

Directions

  • 1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the quail; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Drain and discard marinade.
  • 2. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne and remaining salt and pepper. Coat quail with flour mixture.
  • 3. In a large skillet, cook quail in oil in batches over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165°. Drain on paper towels. Remove to a serving platter and keep warm.
  • 4. For gravy, stir flour into pan drippings until blended; cook and stir for 4 minutes or until golden brown. Gradually add the cream, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • 5. Meanwhile, prepare grits according to package directions. Add the cream cheese, cream, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cream cheese is melted and grits are heated through. Serve with quail and gravy; sprinkle with bacon and green onions if desired. Yield: 8 servings.