Roast Quail with a Cannellini Bean Stew and Chestnuts

It's the 8th of November already? Where the hell did all that time go? By my estimations this year has been only six months long. Am I feeling the effects of time and ageing? Is global warming making the autumnal weather colder or am I just I mean, I actually hurt my hip last week! My hip! I might as well put my name down on the NHS waiting list for a hip replacement because by the time my turn comes around I'll bloody well need it. Nursing my faulty hip, I took solace in writing absolute garbage for NaNoWriMo this past week. It's great emptying the cache of blunted creativity lurking around in my mind but I'm not sure how viable my 'novel' actually is.

So I took my creativity and went back to the kitchen where I had a few disasters and one or two successes. This is one of those successes. I love quail but I usually have it barbecued so I went in search of a new recipe. I consulted The Complete Robuchon by (surprise, surprise) Joel Robuchon and came away with a great recipe for roasted quail but I needed something to pair it with. One epiphany later and I was making Roast Quail with a Cannellini Bean Stew and Chestnuts. I'm not sure where I got the idea from but this definitely went down as a success.

Roast Quail
4 quail
4 dessert spoons of butter
4 sprigs of thyme
4 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
a good amount of fleur de sel
a sprinkle of white pepper

Cannellini Bean Stew
1 can cannellini beans - drained
2 spring onions
4-5 Chantenay carrots - diced finely
1 stalk of celery - diced finely
1 dessert spoon of butter mixed with 1 teaspoon rapeseed oil
1 cup of chicken stock
1 teaspoon freshly picked marjoram
a splash of white wine vinegar

a handful of Italian chestnuts - oven roasted, peeled and diced*

* To cook chestnuts: pierce the skin and cook for 10 mins on full heat in the oven (the skin will split when they're cooked). Alternatively roast your chestnuts on the barbecue!

Preheat your oven to 250C/475F and lightly grease a deep baking tray.Trim and clean your quail. Combine butter, thyme, garlic and half of the fleur de sel and spread on the quail (in the cavity and on top of the breast and legs). Rub the remaining fleur de sel and pepper on the skin of the quail and place them in the baking tray on their sides. Cook for five minutes and turn the birds so the breasts are facing down. Turn onto the other side after another five minutes and then complete the rotation and cook for another five minutes. After twenty minutes of cooking (in total after every rotation has taken place) sit the quail on their backs and spoon over the juices and roast for a few more minutes until the skin has browned. Cover with foil and let the birds rest for 5 or so minutes.

The stew takes 20 minutes to cook so you want to be prepared to start cooking the beans when the birds go in to the oven. Sauté the onions, celery and carrots in the butter and oil mixture until softened. Add the beans, the marjoram and the chicken stock and cook for 15 minutes (stirring occasionally). Add a splash of vinegar and season to taste. Spoon the bean stew onto a plate, place one quail on each plate and scatter with the chopped chestnuts. Top with the juices from the roasted quail and/or truffle oil if you fancy it. Eat and be happy!


10 November 2009 at 22:06 Phoo-D said...

This looks completely lovely! I always pick up the chesnut jars and wonder what I would do with them. Now I have inspiration!

11 November 2009 at 11:14 M. A. Salha said...

Thanks! I'd happily eat the chestnuts by themselves or with an amaretto poured onto them (and topped with cream!).

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