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X-Planations: X20 Chef Peter X. Kelly Welcomes Autumn With New Ingredients

Quail, says Chef Peter X. Kelly, is a great Fall dish.
Quail, says Chef Peter X. Kelly, is a great Fall dish. Photo Credit: Submitted

This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group.

YONKERS, N.Y. -- It’s autumn in the Hudson Valley. Very soon the leaves will be changing color and our beautiful area will be awash in a rainbow of Fall colors. 

As a chef, I love this time of year because our whole palette of ingredients starts to change. Summer's corn and tomatoes become Fall's squashes and root vegetables. I look for more game birds and slow braise’s to satisfy my guests with.

I find few home cooks utilize quail when preparing a special dinner but I highly recommend trying it. Quail is a tiny bird that has a rich dark meat quality that pairs well with a simple mash potato or polenta side dish. Since quail are small birds, I recommend serving just one as a first course or two quail as a main dish. 

The recipe that follows is very simple to prepare; you can even substitute a breast of chicken for the quail. Ask you butcher for boneless quail; it’s well worth the effort.

Quail and other game birds can also be ordered online from

Grilled Quail with Rosemary & Thyme (Recipe courtesy of Peter X. Kelly, Xaviars Restaurants)


  • 8 Boneless Quail (or chicken breast)
  • 6 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper


  • Season quail with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Combine quail with all marinade ingredients and place in a sealable plastic bag.
  • Allow quail to marinate 12 – 48 hours.
  • Heat grill or grill pan and cook quail three minutes on breast side.
  • Turn quail and cook two minutes more.
  • Serve quail with polenta or mashed potatoes.

Note: This recipe may be prepared using boneless chicken breasts.

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