Wednesday 31 December 2008

Recipe: Quail Consommé with Porcini Dumplings

This is the companion recipe to Roast Quail with Walnut Mashed Potato; the base for the Consommé is the remains of the sauce from that, with the addition of further quantities of good Chicken Stock, all simmered together for another half an hour or so. If you want to be uber-elegant, you can then clarify this with minced chicken breast and egg-white; personally, I don't bother (the idea that you throw away an entire uneaten Chicken Breast goes too much against the grain). If you want to make the Consommé from scratch, then you'll need the bones from 6 quail carcasses, carrot and leek to make a sofritto, 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce, and about a litre of water or chicken stock.

The flavour of the Consommé is excellent! The 'dumplings', which in fact have the dense texture more of polpette, are little flavour bombs of porcini and tarragon...and the combination of the two is rich and beguiling.

For Four.

Ingredients: Quail Consommé, sufficient for four servings, made following one or other of the two methods given above; 10g dried Porcini; 2 Prunes; 100g cubed Pancetta; 1 egg; 2 tbs Milk; generous pinch of Baking Powder; 1 tbs chopped fresh Parsley and Tarragon, combined; 60g Bread, cubed; 3 tbs Flour; small clove of Garlic; Salt, Pepper and ground Nutmeg, to taste.


1. Soak the Porcini in hot water for 30 minutes to soften, then drain and rinse, to remove any grit.

2. Combine Porcini with all other ingredients (apart from the Consommé) in a food processor, and process for ten seconds or so, until it is a homogeneous mass.

3. Form the mixture into little balls, each about half an inch in diameter, and roll them lightly in Flour. You should have around 20 'dumplings'. Poach these for twenty minutes in simmering Chicken Stock or water.

4. Meanwhile, re-heat the Consommé, and check and adjust seasoning if necessary. When ready to serve, use a slotted spoon to place five 'dumplings' in each of four soup plates, and ladle hot Consommé over the top.

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