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Bejeweled Roasted Quail #ChefsSecret


When we moved to the secondi section of our Ab Ovo Usque Ad Mala Thanksgiving menu, I was inspired by this passage in Crystal King's The Chef's Secret* - "She closed her eyes and savored the flavors. He himself has studded the birds wtih cloves and stuffed them with fennel.... He had spooned the pomegranate sauce over their wings, the little seeds falling onto the plate like tiny jewels" (pg. 47).


I have always likened the color of the arils to a clear ruby or garnet. And we love quail at this house. So, this was an easy pick for a main dish as I haven't roasted a turkey in probably twenty years for Thanksgiving!

 Ingredients serves 4 
(I tripled this for the dozen guests at our table)
  • 4 whole quail
  • 1 fennel, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 T sweet paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil, as needed
  • Also needed: 100% cotton twine, roasting pan
  • For serving: pomegranate arils, Orange-Saffron Sauce

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 500°F. 

In a small bowl, mix together all the dry spices along with a few grinds of salt and pepper. Place a few slices of fennel in the quail cavity and cross its legs. Tie the twine around the legs to keep them in place.


Rub the quail with the spice blend and place in a rimmed roasting pan.

Drizzle the quail with olive oil and place in the preheated oven. Roast quail for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be nicely browned. Remove the birds from the oven. Tent with foil and let rest for another 10 minutes.


To serve, spoon the sauce onto a serving platter. Arrange the roasted birds on the plate. And scatter arils over the top. Serve immediately.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

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