Saturday, 26 September 2015

Quail, Pea Purée, Carrots, Jus

I was seriously spoiled in culinary school.  We had kitchen porters and limitless pans that allowed us to make dishes with five different components in two hours.  Now at home when I try to be just slightly ambitious it takes me twice as long and I'm twice as stressed because I'm just washing the same two pans over and over again.

Anyway.  This dish wasn't so bad.  Over the weekend I also made quail, it was quail with an asparagus risotto and it was for my boyfriend's birthday dinner. I had never actually cooked for him before (there's a good reason for that), and so first time cooking for him - on his birthday and it was the first time I was meeting his mother.  I think he just wanted to challenge me.  It was alright - I didn't break down, it was all good.

This I made for my Italian baby cousins when they came to my place.  And it's nice when people come around for dinner because or else I just don't cook properly.  I don't like cooking for myself. 

Serves 2

2 x whole quail

Confit legs

200g butter (or more)
4 quail legs from above

Quail jus
Olive oil
Quail carcass from above
25g onion
25g carrots
50ml white wine
500ml chicken stock

Pea puree
Butter - to taste
100g frozen peas
Parmesan - to taste

1 medium carrot


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

1. Caramelize the carcass in some olive oil. Finely chop the carrot and onion for the jus, and add to the pan.   When colored, add white wine to deglaze, reduce by 2/3 and then add the stock.  Simmer for 40 minutes, skim the fat off as necessary.  Then strain and reduce to thick 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 small pan with melted butter - enough to cover. Put on a lid, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and have it over very low heat - it should barely simmer.  Cook for about 30 minutes and reserve.

3. Trim the quail breasts and reserve.

4. For the pea puree, blanch the peas in boiling water for 30 seconds and blitz in a food processor.  Pass through a sieve for a smoother consistency and add melted butter and grated parmesan to taste. 

5. Peel the carrot for the ribbon, and then just use the peeler again to make long thin strips.  Blanch in hot water for a 30 seconds then fry in some butter afterwards to rewarm.  Season.

6. Season the quail breasts and fry in a pan for less than a minute on each side.  Fry the cooked legs as well just to crisp up the skin.

Spoon the puree across the plate, pile on the carrot ribbons, rest the quail on top and drizzle the jus around.

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