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1 c White grapes (to make 1/4 to 1/3 cup grape juice)
2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Freshly ground black pepper
1 ts Dried thyme leaves
8 qt Split and flattened
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 c Virginia ham, cut into 2 by 1/4 inch matchsticks
First, make the fresh white grape juice. Crush the cup of grapes in a pestle, then put through a sieve or vegetable mill to extract the juice, or use a potato ricer.
Combine the salt, pepper, and thyme, crushing the thyme with your fingertips. Sprinkle both sides of the birds with the seasonings. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it foams and just begins to brown. Add the quail, skin-side down. Sprinkle with ham, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the skin is golden brown. Turn the birds and continue cooking, covered, until the juices run clear, about 4 minutes longer. Take the pan from the heat and let the quail rest, covered, for about 10 minutes. Arrange the quail on a platter and sprinkle the ham from the pan over them.
Pour the fat from the pan. Add the grape juice (you can also use water, if you prefer), and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, scraping the browned bits from the bottom to deglaze the pan. Pour over the quail and serve.
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