Sunday 28 December 2008

Recipe: Roast Quail with Walnut Mashed Potato

The secret to this dish is good organisation; quite a few stages, but nothing too complicated, and as long as you do everything in the correct order then the end result should be perfect. Succulent pieces of Quail served on a bed of walnut-flavoured purée, and a spoonful of richly complicated sauce which pretty much defies description. By the time you sit down to the first course, you can have the quail pieces and the finished potatoes warming in the oven, while the sauce bubbles away, just ready to be sieved and served.

For Four.

Ingredients: 6 Quail; 4 medium Potatoes; 2 tbs crushed Walnut pieces; 2 tbs Walnut Oil; 1 Egg; 1/4 cup of Milk; 1/2 thinly sliced Mushrooms; 1 large Shallot; 2 tbs Wine Vinegar; 2 tbs Soy Sauce; 1 tsp dried Oregano; 200 ml water; Olive Oil; Salt & Pepper; choppedParsley, for garnish.


1.Pre-heat the oven to 220 degreecs C.

2. Peel and cut up the potatoes and leave in salted water, ready to be cooked.

3. Film with oil the bottom of a pan that will subsequently fit in the oven, heat and then use to brown the quail lightly all over; season lightly with salt & pepper as you turn the birds to brown them. Once browned, place the whole pan in the oven to roast the quail for ten minutes.

4. Leave the birds to cool for a few minutes outside the oven, so that you can handle them, then quickly remove the legs and breasts and wrap them in a foil package and leave to keep warm inside a 60 degree C oven. Roughly chop the quail carcasses using either a cleaver or a heavy carving knife.

5. Heat some Oil in a pan, and use briefly to sauté the chopped Shallot and Mushroom; add the quail carcasses to this and brown altogether for about five minutes. De-glaze with Vinegar, then add the Oregano, Soy Sauce and Water, bring to the boil and then adjust the heat to simmer for half an hour or so.

6. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes, and once they are done pass them through the fine holes of a potato ricer; add Egg, Milk, Walnut pieces and Walnut Oil, and mix together. Check seasoning and adjust as appropriate. Keep warm while you finish the sauce.

7. Once the sauce has simmered for half an hour, sieve it into a clean saucepan and bring once more to the boil - you should have enough thick sauce for a generous spoonful per serving.

8. Put a generous spoonful of purée in the centre of each serving plate, arrange the quail legs and breasts around the purée and spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chopped Parsley, and serve.

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