Last weekend I bought a pack of six quail from William in our market on Saturdays. I cut them in half and four of us to had three halves each. They look small but that was definitely enough. When eating quail you need to be prepared to pick them up and eat in your hands. This recipe comes from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi. I’ve changed it a little to suit our taste. If you don’t want to use quail, chicken thighs pieces would also work really well.
- Ingredients (for 4)
- 6 quail cut in half along the breast and backbone
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
- Salt and pepper
- A little olive oil
- 2 tbsps flour
- 100ml white wine
- 200ml water
- 150ml chicken stock
- 1½ tbsps castor sugar
- 1 tbsp manuka honey
- 1½ tbsps tamarind paste
- 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsps fresh thyme leaves
- 100g dried apricots, sliced
- 3 tbsps currants or raisins
- Chopped coriander and/or parsley to garnish
Put the chilli flakes, cumin and fennel seeds in a bowl with ½ tsp salt and plenty of ground pepper. Dry the quail pieces with paper towels. Add the pieces with the spices and leave to marinate in the bowl for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat a little oil in a lidded pan and brown the quail pieces on both sides. Sprinkle with the flour and allow that to cook for a few seconds. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the water and garnishing herbs. Add enough water to almost, but not totally, cover the birds.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Turn the quail pieces 2-3 times. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve on plain steamed rice which has been sprinkled with a few toasted pinenuts. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs.