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RECIPE: Quail Two Ways


For some reason, we seldom give quail the respect they deserve. They are, after all, delectable little birds who devote their entire, brief lives to becoming delicious, just for our pleasure. And they succeed, of course: buy a few next time you are in a decent butcher’s shop ? or at least order some if they do not have any in stock ? and give them a try.

Cook them simply, butterfly them by cutting down either side of the backbone, pulling it out, and then cutting through the breast bone to knock them into two halves. Oil and season these ? ideally, adding a sprinkle of the delicious mid-east spice mix Baharat ? and them cook them on a hot grill for 4-6 minutes a side. They make brilliant finger food.

Or, more seriously, buy 2 or 3 chorizo (Spanish sausages) at the same time, ideally the fresh ones.

Split and take out the filling and toss in a hot pan until it is evenly cooked through, and leave to cool.

When you are ready to cook your quail, oil and season four of the birds and stuff their cavities with the chorizo filling. Either stitch up the filled cavities or close each with a small skewer, and then roast them, turning every few minutes, on a hot grill.

Cook them for 15-20 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

NOTE: For extra impact, try glazing the chorizo-stuffed quail, after the first five minutes on the grill, with a honey glaze made by heating, in a small pot, 2 cups of honey, 1tsp smoked paprika, the juice and zest of half a lemon and the juice and zest of half a small orange. Also add a couple of sage leaves and a couple of basil leaves. Brush the partly cooked birds with this glaze, and repeat the dose during the final cooking period and, if there is any glaze left, after you have lifted them from the grill to a platter.