Thursday, 11 June 2015

Quail, onion puree, hazelnut granola, peas, jus

 Oh man I'm so glad I can finally use some of my culinary school stuff for Happy Belly. It's two birds with one stone. This is actually an exam dish of mine, and I need to make two plates of this plus two plates of a main course dish that involves a dozen different elements in 4 hours.  With setting up and cleaning, I'm in the room for over 4 and a half hours.  An exam for four and a half hours.  You know what my main concern with these things are?  My bladder.  I've got a bladder of an 80-year-old and simply the idea of being restricted the bathroom for that long makes my bladder fill up with nerves.

I remember for my last exam, I woke up in the middle of the night 4 times to pee.  I'm not even exaggerating.  And it's not like I had drank a tank of water beforehand, there was no liquid, I was weeing out pure anxiety.

It's a problem when I go traveling as well, I feel like I must plan things with my bladder in mind.  It can be rather embarrassing, it's true.
 So let's go back to this quail.  Love the puree and the granola and I love quail.  They're cheap, they're small, they're delicious. They're great roasted whole as well, really. Treat them like a baby chicken.  I'm gonna buy a quail over the weekend and practice the butchery some more.  And then after next week it's all over - after next week my Cordon Bleu journey will end.  Eeeeee.

Serves 2

2 x whole quail

Confit legs

200g butter
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
3 black peppercorns
4 quail legs from above

Quail jus
10ml olive oil
Quail carcass from above
25g celery
25g leeks
25g carrots
50ml white wine
500ml chicken stock

Onion and leek puree
50g butter
150g onion
50ml double cream

Hazelnut granola
50g whole skinned hazelnuts
5ml oil
½ egg white
1 lemon
1 sprig thyme

Violet mustard vinaigrette
1 tsp violet mustard
15ml sherry vinegar
10g shallots
40ml olive oil

50g peas
Parsley leaves


1. Remove the breasts and the legs off the quail. Clean the carcass, remove the guts and chop.

1. Caramelize the carcass in 10ml olive oil. Then add the chopped celery, leeks and carrots from the jus. When colored, add white wine to deglaze, reduce by 2/3 and then add the stock and bouquet garnis. Simmer for 40 minutes, skim as necessary. Then strain and reduce to a jus consistency.

2. Remove the thigh meat and bones from the quail legs but keep the skin intact. French trim the drumstick end. Pull back the thigh skin over, through and over the drumstick. Place them in a pan with butter, olive oil, thyme, bay leaf, crushed black pepper corns and salt. Cover put in an oven at 90C.

3. Trim the quail breasts and reserve.

4. For the onion puree, finely slice the onion and sweat in butter without coloring until tender.  Blitz with some of the cream, pass through a fine strainer, adjust seasoning and consistency with more cream.

5. Crush the hazelnuts with a rolling pin. Whisk the egg white until foamy and whisk in the oil, lemon zest, chopped thyme leaves, and some salt and pepper.  Mix just a bit with the hazelnuts, just  the hazelnuts are coated.  with Spread on a parchment paper lined tray to bake at 150C for 30 minutes until golden. Break into pieces.

6. Make the vinaigrette by finely chopping the shallots and whisking the rest of the ingredients into it. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Blanch and refresh the peas, and toss with the dressing. Lightly mash with a fork.

8. Deep-fry two parsley leaves.

9. Season the quail breasts and fry in a pan with rapeseed oil.

To Plate
Spoon the puree across the middle of the plate. Top with peas. Arrange two breasts on either side, then two drumsticks in the middle. Spread hazelnut granola around, spoon jus around the plate, and top with fried parsley leaves.

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