Grady Spears has three restaurants and has just published his cookbook A Cowboy in the Kitchen. Here he offers an unusual quail dish, for which you can prepare the Cider Adobo in advance.
For the Beer Batter:
• 1 cup club soda
• 1 cup good beer (Shiner Bock preferred)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 3/4 cups flour
• 4 semi-boned quail, cut into quarters
• 6 cups peanut oil
• 1 cup Cider Adobo (to follow)
For the Cider Adobo:
• 3/4 cup red wine
• 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup apricot preserves
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 scallion, thinly cut on the diagonal
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves.
Prepare the Beer Batter:
Combine the soda, beer, salt and red pepper flakes in a large, stainless steel bowl. Using a whisk, gradually add the flour, blending to avoid lumps. Stick your finger into the batter. If the batter is thick and sticks to your finger, it is ready. Add more flour if the batter seems thin.
Cook the quail:
Heat 2 1/2 inches of oil in a large, heavy skillet to 350 degrees. Dip each piece of quail into the batter and slide it into the oil. Do not crowd pieces of quail.
Cook about 8 to 10 minutes turning once. Remove the quail to a paper towel-lined sheet pan to drain. Drizzle with Cider Adobo.
Prepare the Cider Adobo:
Place the red wine, apple cider vinegar, apricot preserves, honey, brown sugar, minced garlic, ginger, kosher salt, sliced scallion and chopped cilantro leaves in a large, heavy pan and stir well to combine. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, watching carefully so it does not boil over.
Reduce heat to medium and cook the adobo uncovered stirring occasionally, until reduced by about 50 percent (to 1 cup). This will take about 20 to 25 minutes, and the consistency should be like syrup.
Serve with the quail, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.