Quail As A Real Delicacy

Quail is perfect for a special occasion. Its meat resembles chicken, but with a more subtle and delicate flavor. How to handle this little bird to make it a real delicacy.

How to choose quail

Quail is a rather small bird, so if you are expecting guests, prepare one or two per person. The carcass should look meaty and the meat itself should be firm, meaning that if you press on the flesh, there should be no indentation in the area. You should also pay special attention to the smell, which should be pleasant.

How to cut a quail to make it easier to eat

Usually, quail are sold at markets and shops already plucked and gutted, but sometimes you have to do it yourself. For example, to quickly remove the remaining feathers from the carcass, you need to rub alcohol on the skin and quickly burn it in a hot pan. After this, it is easy to remove the feathers. The stripped carcass should be rinsed well in cold water. Also, to make the quail easier to eat, I recommend cutting out the keel, the sternum outgrowth to which the pectoral and subclavian muscles are attached. Then, the wings of the processed bird should be put behind the back (you can tie them with a rough thread), the abdomen should be cut lengthwise and the legs – first one, then the other one – should be put there. Everything is ready for culinary experimentation. 

How to cook quail quickly, simply and deliciously

Pan frying quail is a quick, yet rewarding way to prepare the bird. It comes out tender and crispy

The easiest way to make sure that the quail is delicious is to fry the bird in a pan for 2 minutes on each side, put pieces of butter on top of the bird and stew for another 10-15 minutes under a closed lid. The bird’s meat will turn pink and the flavor will intensify and become insanely bright.

How to properly bake quail in the oven

For me, the best quail is cooked on coals. But it’s great in the oven, too. The important point is to control the temperature, the bird should remain juicy after cooking. The ideal baking temperature is 175 degrees, in which case the quail will be ready in 12 to 15 minutes. There are a few more tricks to prevent the bird from turning dry. For example, before baking you can wrap it in thin slices of bacon, which gives the quail a richer, slightly smokier flavor. Or roast it over glowing coals, turning it constantly and then leave it to rest for at least 5-7 minutes after removing it from the fire.  

How to marinate quail? Three ways to make the meat tender

Put a Caucasian-style marinade on the quail: sour cream, grain mustard, garlic and aromatic herbs. The aroma and flavor will knock your socks off!

You can also marinade the quail before cooking it in the oven. There is no limit to how much you can experiment with marinades.

  1. For example, you can take 1/2 teaspoon of grain mustard, the juice of half a lemon, 1/3 teaspoon of honey, a tablespoon of vegetable oil, some grated ginger and orange zest for one bird. Mix everything, rub over the carcass and leave for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Or take 3 tablespoons of sour cream, lemon juice and a little grated zest, grain mustard, a garlic clove and chopped coriander – you get a marinade in the Caucasian style. Marinate the bird in it and roast on coals or bake in the oven.
  3. For a deeper flavor, try preparing the following mixture. Add 30 grams of tandoori mix, 40 grams of salt, 20 grams of sugar, 5 peppercorns, a bay leaf and 5 cloves of garlic to a litre of water. Bring everything to the boil, cool down and marinate the quail in this marinade for 6-8 hours. After that, simply bake the quail in the oven.   

Spices for quail: a mix of flavor and delicious crust

Quail has a delicate flavor, so spices need to be used carefully. For example, I like this mixture. Mustard seeds (30g), coriander seeds (10g), fennel seeds (5g), zira (5g) and white pepper (5g) should be fried in a dry pan until aromatic and allowed to cool. Then add five grams each of dried thyme, mustard powder, ginger powder, sugar and 10 grams of salt and grind into a powder with a blender or grinder. Rub the quail inside and outside with the spice mixture and bake at 175 degrees for 15 minutes.

How to cook quail to surprise your guests

Stuffed quail is a gourmet dish. You’ve got every chance of racking up compliments at the festive table

If you want to wow your guests, I recommend making stuffed quail. But in this case, you will have to make some fuss. You should cut out the inside bones, leaving the whole carcass, legs and wings. Salt and pepper the inside and outside, and rub it with olive oil on top. For the filling, you can use porcini mushrooms sauteed with onions. Or minced chicken (take equal parts dark and white meat) with fried onions, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and chopped herbs. In this case, stuffed quail will have to be baked in an oven at 180 degrees for about half an hour.

Best garnishes for quail

No less important than not drying out the quail is to choose the right sauces and garnish it. For example, mashed potatoes may be suitable and truffle oil, crème fraîche, Dijon mustard and olive oil can be added for flavor.

Or mashed mushrooms. For it, heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan, fry shallots on a medium heat, stirring all the time, until soft. If available, pour in the dry sherry and steam almost completely. Add the oyster mushrooms, add the butter, season with a little salt and fry, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft. Add water and stew over a low heat until it has almost evaporated. Then put the mushrooms in a stand blender and beat on high speed until smooth into a crème fraîche. Without switching off the blender, add a little more butter and season with lemon juice and salt. Then, to make the puree perfectly smooth and fluffy, hand rub it through a fine sieve. 

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