I’m booked in for a quail shoot soon and I can’t wait, it’s like Christmas for me. If I’m lucky I might bag a few more ducks and possibly a hare. But in the meantime I’ll cook what I have in the frozen larder already. I cooked some lovely quail and instead of wrapping the little legs in prosciutto or jamon I used a sopressa salami and now have a new favourite baked quail leg.
A lot of people turn their noses up at quail and consider it nothing more than a fancy restaurant dining bird. Their loss really. I think it’s one of the best tasting wild birds available, and better than duck in many respects. The meat is more succulent and requires far less cooking time.
I have people complain that the bird is too small and requires too much effort to get the meat off. Oh diddums!…So my solution is simple…I do the work for the lazy complaining eaters. I’ll roast a few birds, shred the meat off and pop it in something like a ragu or basic pasta sauce. This time round I made a tomato/red wine based ragu with some of my garden veg, I added the roasted quail meat and simmered for a good few hours, topping up the liquid when it looked dry. I also added some white beans to give it a bit more ‘meatiness’ to the sauce, then served it with some fluffy couscous. The customers seemed happy with the meal. Maybe I’ll make it again.