Quail really benefits from cooking sous vide. This precision method keeps the bird at a constant low temperature, which prevents the delicate meat from overheating, drying out and becoming tough. The end result is beautifully tender and moist. This recipe recommends cooking the breast on the bone to help the meat keep its shape.
- Preheat the water bath to a temperature of 62⁰C.
- Carefully trim off the legs of the quail. The legs are not required for this recipe but you can save them for later use.
- Scoop out of the quail’s entrails and clean the inside of the cavity with kitchen paper.
- Sprinkle salt all over the meat, including inside the cavity, and seal the bird inside a vacuum bag with a ladleful of chicken stock.
- Place the bag in the water bath and leave to cook for 45 minutes.
- Slide the cooked quail out of the vacuum bag and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Place a frying pan over a high heat and add a splash of oil. When the oil is hot, add the quail and fry until the skin is golden and crisp. It is now ready to serve. You can serve the meat on the bone or you can slice off the breasts and discard the rest of the carcass.
For added flavour, seal some herbs or aromatics in the vacuum bag with the quail. A sprig of thyme or rosemary or some crushed garlic would work well.
Alternatively, give your quail an Asian twist by massaging a small amount of miso paste into the meat before cooking.
In 2012, Colin McGurran’s spectacular Quail in the woods made the final banquet of Great British Menu. This feat of culinary wizardry would be almost impossible to replicate outside of a professional kitchen but you could bring a little bit of McGurran’s magic to your table at home by making one of the delicious quail-based elements in the dish.
Those looking for a slightly simpler way to serve quail might like to try Mark Dodson’s Breasts of quail with pea purée, pancetta and marjoram jus, which would be a great choice of main for a springtime dinner party.
Recipe courtesy of www.greatbritishchefs.com