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For my birthday, Mark’s mom bought me Gourmet Today, a collection of over 1000 recipes from the now defunct, at least in physical form, Gourmet magazine. Both Bon Appetite and Gourmet are owned by the same company, but magazine sales and subscriptions have been decreasing everywhere. In order to cut cost, the 90 year old Gourmet was put on the chopping block.

I love Gourmet so much that I would collect old issues from the doctors office or second hand stores, so I could not wait to try some recipes from this cookbook.

Since I am on my grilling kick, I picked a grilled quail with coconut curry sauce recipe to break the book in. The recipe actually called for Cornish game hens, but Central Market did not have any at the time, so I substituted quail, which I thought gave the dish an additional gamy flavor that was enhanced by the curry sauce. You can also substitute chicken wings and drumsticks.

The quails need to be marinated the day before, and the marinade need to be cooked and cooled before using, so plan ahead to incorporate this time. To make the marinade, chopped shallots are sautéed in some oil until soft.

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Chopped garlic and ginger are added to the pan and cooked for a few minutes.

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I used Mae Ploy brand red curry paste for this recipe that I found in the local Asian store. I usually buy a jar of it and it’s good for a few years in the fridge!

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The red curry paste is added to the pan and cooked for a minute or so.

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A can of coconut milk is added to the pan, brought to a boil, and simmered for about 20 to 30 minutes.

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The marinade should be a thick sauce that sticks slightly to the bottom of the pan.

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Chill the marinade until cold, and reserve 1 cup of the marinade as a dipping sauce for later. The quail I bought has been deboned except for the drumsticks and the wings. Rinse the quail under cold water, then pat dry.

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Put the quail in a large plastic resealable bag and pour the chilled marinade over it, making sure the quails are completely coated. The quail should be chilled over night in the fridge.

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When you are ready to grill the quail, start a fire in the chimney starter.

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When the charcoal starts to ash, in about 15 to 20 minutes, they should be ready to be used.

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Carefully transfer the coals into the grill, make sure to place the coals only on half of the grill, so you have a cooler area to place the quails during cooking. This is called indirect grilling. While setting up the fire, I also secured the quail on metal skewers.

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After the coals are ready, and the grill grates cleaned, the quails are placed on the grill.

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The quails closer to the hit fire will get cooked quicker, so I cooked those for about 4 minutes per side, then rotated the quails on the cooler side, and cooked those for about a total of 8 minutes.

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Grilling is a very intuitive process, since every fire is different and every grill is different. I think it’s much easier to follow common sense and your own cooking experience than the recipe, although the recipe does give a very good guideline on time. I cooked my quails a little longer because I personally like the skin to be browned and crispy.

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I served the quail with the reserved coconut curry sauce on the side, and it was one of the best grilled dishes I’ve ever made!

Grilled Cornish game hens with coconut curry sauce

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