So I put this up on Instagram when I made it and you guys lurved it. At the time, my site was offline being upgraded, and so I promised that when it was back up, this quail recipe would be my first post. I try to keep my word, you know?

Like much of my cooking, this meal was slightly different to what I had planned. I had planned to cook lunch for an old friend NO, and had wanted to do baby hens, but then there was so much traffic on Akin Adesola that I could not get to Delis. So I ended up turning onto Akin Olugbade and heading to La Pointe. They had only one baby hen left, and I needed 3, but the butcher pointed out that they had fresh quail. So I thought yup, quail it is, and the rest is history. I used my Froggit Seafood and Salad seasoning which I got from Cape Town Food Market, but you can simply use salt, black pepper, and dried mixed herbs.

 

Ingredients

3 whole fresh quail, cleaned, legs tied together

3 sweet potatoes, boiled and cubed

4 rashers bacon, cut into lardons

2 handfuls mange tout

2 handfuls rocket

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, bashed but whole

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

A splash of red wine

Unsalted butter

Sea salt

Black pepper

Dried herbs

 

Method

1. Season the dish with salt, black pepper, herbs and olive oil, then place the quail in the dish so that the dish seasons the underside of the meat, and then sprinkle the same seasoning over the top of the quail. Throw on the garlic and then cover in cling film. I let mine marinade for about 3 hours, but you can also cook immediately if you ain’t got time.

How to season quail

2. Place a good knob of butter in the pan and fling in the garlic. Once the butter it hot and bubbling, put the quails into the hot buttery pan. Let cook for 2 minutes until golden brown, and then turn over to brown the other side for 2 minutes also.

Browning quail in butter3. Now transfer the buttery brown birds into an oven proof dish (keep the browning pot though, we will need it later) and bake them in the oven at 200*C for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Once they are done, bring them out and let them rest. Now go back to the pot you browned the quail in, with the leftover butter and heat it up again. Slosh on some red wine and some balsamic vinegar to make a rich sauce, and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with some salt if you need it, but you probably don’t.

Red wine and balsamic sauce

4. Pour this rich sauce over the quails which are resting on the counter.

Quails resting in juices after cooking

5. Now for the sweet potatoes – get a really hot griddle pan going on the cooker, and then tip in the bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, splash some olive oil and salt onto the sweet potato cubes and then pour the cubes into the pan to join the bacon. (If you don’t have a griddle pan, a normal non-stick pan is fine, only you won’t get the char lines).  Let the tatties sear for about a minute on each side to get the lines and shake the pan often so its well distributed. Then add the onions and mange tout and cook until those are just wilted, before removing from the heat. That’s this dish done.

Sweet potatoes, bacon and mange tout

6. Now to plate everything up. I placed the sweet potato hash in a pile, and then put the rocket down, placed the quail on top of that, and then drizzled the red wine and balsamic sauce over everything. But of course you can plate up however you see fit. Let your creativity run wild, hehe. We enjoyed this with a

Paleo quail recipes omnomlagos

 

Of course every good meal is amplified by some good wine. We enjoyed this meal with a 2013 Vin d’Alsace Wolfberger Pinot Gris white wine, which NO’s husband scored from L’epicerie.

2013 Vin d'Alsace Wolfberger Pinot Gris white wine

It was a bloody good afternoon. So much fun. We gisted, laughed, and I got to play with their utterly brilliant and beautiful baby daughter. I went home feeling extremely blessed and happy.