Christmas this year was the quietest in my living memory, though not the most modest in the gastronomic sense. I had the pleasure of cooking the last jar of duck confit I made last winter and this decadent roast quail stuffed with the season’s staple vegetable. It being my LM’s 300th day birthday gave more of a reason to celebrate over this special meat and wine.
My little mouse has been enjoying chestnuts, which are, strangely, recommended after 2 years of age in the west, 1 year in Turkey, and 6 months in Asia. What is allowed for a baby varies depending on the country and I get confused because our baby is mixed. So glad that the LM is now at the stage where she can eat almost everything we eat and her latest obsession is toasted seaweed 🙂
These birds had been providing my LM with fresh eggs over the past 3 months and, when they stop laying eggs, they finally ended up on our plate. Quail eggs are another forbidden food item for babies under one year old but I’ve been giving her one or even two everyday! I find the small size very handy when making baby pancakes and other baby-sized meal.
These tiny birds aren’t really easy to cook as many people claim: high heat and quick cooking. I always find the meat a bit too tough so I opted for a long cooking method. The birds came with the backbone cut open as if they were meant to be spatchcocked and grilled. However, I still stuffed them with the chestnut prune stuffing.
I followed this recipe and simplified it a bit using the ingredients available in my pantry. You can follow the exact recipe by all means for extra decadence. The prosciutto wrapped around the quails would have made a world of difference but sadly I didn’t have any at home since I haven’t been able to cross the border for pantry shopping.
I first roasted the stuffed quails generously rubbed with butter to prevent them from drying out. When they were cooked, I took them out, saved the juice aside and added the precooked rice at the bottom. Then, I placed the quails on top, breast side up, and roasted at a high heat so that the skin would crispen and the juice from the meat would season the rice. The total roasting time was about an hour – yes, pretty long for such a tiny bird! – and the meat was a bit dry but easier to eat at least.
It was a lot of effort for very little meat but we still enjoyed the flavours. I, to be honest, would rather deal with duck, which is cooking slowly in the oven and will be served on NYE, I mean tonight! I tried to write one last post to say good bye to 2020 and here I made it.
I wish everyone a wonderful new year 2021 filled with lots of fun, love, good health and gastronomic joy. Cheers everyone!