Quail with Fino & Quince

21 Nov

Quail, or Caille in French are part of the pheasant family and are a wonderful tasting bird. Quail are commonly hunted in the Mediterranean regions as a source of food and are easy to come by in our area. In this recipe I’ve cooked the quail Spanish style with fino, garlic and bayleaves. I also added a large quince as we have plenty to hand, to add to the aroma and impart a little sweetness. The result is a lip-smacking delight, the birds are tender and full of flavour and the sauce is rich and aromatic.
Serves 4 Prep 10min Cook 30mins

  • 4 Quails
  • olive oil
  • 10-15 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • large glass of fino sherry
  • 1 large quince, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 mild chilli, sliced finely (optional)

Quails are quite small only about 15cm long so allow one per person. If you buy them ready prepared great otherwise remove all the feathers, wing tips, head and feet. Wash the birds and pat dry then season with salt and pepper. Saute the birds in a generous amount of olive oil in a wide dish or pan until browned on all sides. Throw in the garlic and bayleaves and when the aroma rises pour in the fino. Cook on a high heat, on the hob, for two or three minutes to burn off the alcohol, and to allow the oil and sherry to emulsify, then put the dish into a preheated medium oven, uncovered, for 25-35 minutes. Remove from the oven at least once to baste during cooking. Serve the birds on a bed of rice, cous cous or mashed potato with the sauce spooned over or simply with bread to mop up all the lovely juices.

Cook’s Note Fino is a light, dry Spanish sherry from the Jerez region and is usually served chilled. If you don’t have any fino substitute dry white wine, dry sherry or white vermouth each will impart its own unique flavour but have a similar effect.


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