Christmas Spiced Quail
The spice blend we use here is fantastic for the festive season but its so easy to get creative and change the flavours to suite other dishes. why not try adding chilli flakes and toasted ground cumin and coriander to give you a warm moroccan flavour.
12 Quails pierced all over with a skewer.(Note
this recipe is perfect for 1 large chicken in place of
- 1.5 lit boiling water.
- 100 g salt.
- 200 g soft brown sugar.
- 50 g white sugar.
- 8 tea bags ( standard builders tea bags are fine but use Darjeeling
or Earl Grey for a more interesting flavour )
Christmas spice blend
- 1 orange zest and juice.
- Half a fresh nutmeg finely grated. Or 1 tbs of ground nut meg.
- 2 tsb of ground star anise.
- 2 tsb of ground cinnamon.
- 2 tsb of ground ginger.
- 2/3 hand full of ice.
- For the bed of roasting vegetables.
- 2 carrots peeled and roughly chopped.
- 1 onion peeled and roughly chopped.
- 2 sticks of celery roughly chopped.
- 1 leek washed and roughly chopped.
- 2 tomatoes roughly chopped.
- 3 bay leafs.
- 1 small bunch of thyme.
- 1 large glass of white wine.
- 1 pint chicken stock.
- A glug of olive oil.
- Black pepper.
Put your tea bags in to a container big enough to take 2 lit of water, Poor the boiling water on to your tea bags add all other simple brine ingredients and stir to deasolve sugar and salt. Add your Christmas spice blend and let it all infuse and cool down. When cooled down take out the tea bags and add 2/3 hand full of ice this will bring the brine down to a safe temperature. When the ice has melted and the brine is cold ( below 4 C pop your quail in to the liquid upside down and wrap well to avoid spillage in your fridge.
Brine for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 12 hours. Drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper. place them back in the fridge to dry out on a plate uncovered until you are ready to cook. Fire your oven up to 300 C place your roasting vegetables, herbs and wine on a roasting tray. Put your quail on top of the veg and drizzle the skin with olive oil. season with black pepper. ( Note do not season with salt )
Cook in your wood fired oven for 5 minutes keeping your eye on them as you do not want to burn the skin. After 5 minutes your birds will be taking on a lovely colour partly dew to the tea and the sugar. Turn them over on to there breasts and cook for 10 minutes. Now turn them back over and let them cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes to crisp up the skin. Place your quail in a preheated oven at 100 C on a serving dish to keep worm and rest while you make a quick sauce from the roasting veg.
Put your tray of roasting veg in to a sauce pan with the pint of chicken stock and reduce by half. Strain and season the sauce over your quail.
Delicious served with brown rice pilau, crispy salad and apple chilli jelly.