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Food Issue - Recipe: Quail with Sweet Peppers and Goat Cheese Polenta

Peter Dale, the National

1 cup polenta

8 oz. fresh goat cheese (chevre)

8 quail, wings tips clipped

1 cup sweet peppers (roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped)

2 tablespoons chopped assorted herbs (such as parsley, thyme, basil, sage, rosemary)

2 cups arugula leaves, stems removed

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

In a 3-quart sauce pot, heat 4 cups water over high heat. When water comes to boil, whisk in polenta until fully incorporated. Lower heat to a simmer and allow polenta to cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan. Season quail with salt.

Add quail (working in batches if necessary) and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes until evenly browned all over. Turn quail and brown the other side.

Turn heat to low. Add peppers and herbs to the pan. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until quail is cooked through. Add a little water if pan appears dry.

When polenta is cooked, add goat cheese and combine well. Season to taste with salt.

To assemble, spoon polenta onto a serving platter. Place a mound of arugula in the middle of the polenta. Arrange quail on top of the arugula, spooning peppers and pan juices over quail. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 appetizer portions, or 4 entree portions.

Tips:

Brining the quail will produce a juicier cooked bird.

For a spicier dish, include a jalapeño or other locally grown hot pepper with the sweet peppers.

Peter recommends polenta from Red Mule Mill in Athens, goat cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy, quail from Plantation Quail in Greensboro, sweet peppers and arugula from Woodland Gardens in Winterville, and herbs from local farmer's markets or your back yard.

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