Contains: Gluten, if you use farro. Is: Cooking from Home Grown.
You can substitute the farro (an ancient grain) with quinoa or rice, to make this dish gluten-free. Or with potatoes to make it Paleo and Whole30 instead. Another veggie can take the place of the cuke, raw or cooked.
This recipe is adapted from Hank Shaw’s Roast Quail Recipe – How to Oven Roast Quail | Hank Shaw (honest-food.net) . His recipe is usable for both wild game quail and for domesticated quail such as the Coturnix I am raising. Hank Shaw says this basic recipe is a good game (ahem) plan for any type of quail you might have access to. If you ever do find them in supermarkets, they will likely be Coturnix quail. Here in Massachusetts, it is only legal to raise Coturnix or button quail without a permit. Both birds are native to eastern Asia. They are extremely unlikely to survive if they escape. At any rate, check where you live to verify your permitting rules, in case you decide to raise quail.
I added in the veggies and farro for this recipe to balance things out.
I have found a bunch of quail recipes I want to try. But this one, on a supremely hot and humid day, seemed quick and up my current alley. I lack central air so far. Elaborate is NOT in my game plan this week…
Keep the skin ON any quail you plan to roast. This will keep the meat from dehydrating. These are a very very lean bird. I processed two quail, and yes, the first one is not optimal in my plucking ability. I will discuss processing quail in more detail later this summer – once I get the hang of it down enough here to make the task worthy of discussion. These ones were sloppy first efforts. (Still tasty…)
Some of the offal will be cooked with the farro. You can always discard that. I won’t discard all of it. I’ll show usable offal below, but pick your personal approach….
I have removed the wings from these quail, because they really lack any amount of edible meat, and because i want to learn how to prep these wings for arts and crafts projects. You can leave them on the quail as you choose.
Hank Shaw provides an option for those who might like to brine their quail. The quail will be more tender, but that’s balanced out (in a bad way, IMHO) by being far too salty to enjoy.
You can also hit these guys with a searing torch after cooking – something like a Searzall. Don’t have one, but the benefits will be to sear up that skin. I used a drizzle of balsamic reductase to help tighten up the skin (and add flavor) while cooking – using butter instead of the other fats for coating can also help with this.
I wrote this recipe up for TWO people; although I actually only made a half recipe (for just one person, me…)
Quail cooking info
Prep Time: 30 minutes (to allow quail to come to room temp.)
Cook Time: 15 minutes.
Rest Time: 15 minutes.
Serves: 2 quail per person. Recipe written for two.
I will detail the above information for the sides when I discuss the sides.
Oven-Roasted Coturnix Quail with Farro, and Cucumber Salad
- 4 whole quail, cleaned, but skin ON.
- lard, duck fat, ghee, or a good high temperature cooking oil. (I used duck fat.)
- 2 celery sticks, as needed.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 to 1.5 teaspoon balsamic reduction (optional)
- Lemon or lime wedges (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 500 F / C. Or as hot as your oven goes, should it not reach 500. Take processed quail out of the fridge and let warm to room temperature or thereabouts. Dry them by patting with a paper towel or two, as needed. (You can start your farro side or whatever you are making at this point… depending on what it is…)
Bring the quail out of the fridge to allow them come to room temperature before cooking.
Coat the birds with the oil or fat of your choice, noting that the ghee will help brown your quail. Salt. Set aside as oven heats.
Place the birds in a heavy-duty roasting pan or in a cast iron pan/skillet. Set the quail in there, using the celery to keep them from tipping over, or touching each other.
Roast for 12-18 minutes. I’d err to the lower end of this number, especially with smaller quail such as the Coturnix. The idea is to keep them succulent. Although they will brown more the longer they are in there. Frankly – I vote checking lower end.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 or so minutes. Plate up the sides, and any gravy you wish for the quail themselves. You can simply just squirt lemon or lime juice on these birds just prior to serving.
In my case, I ended up using a balsamic reduction drizzling for a topping before placing these quail in the oven.
NOTE: When processing my quail, I discard the intestines, gall bladder, lungs and crop. The feet can be removed to join my future poultry stock (although I probably not need bother). I save the heart, any liver not impacted by the gall bladder, and the gizzard. You do have to clean out the interior of the gizzard, which is full of tiny little stones – or in quail case, probably mostly sand and leftover food from the day before. The neck can be left on, or could be added to that future poultry stock (I discarded this, this time). In a future post (under Homesteading), I’ll show gizzard cleaning methods. I understand if this is not worth everyone’s time (although I love chicken gizzards).
NOTE: I’d recommend ghee over butter – higher smoke point. But as noted there are other options. And butter may brown the skin more, plus the quail won’t be in the oven all THAT long. .
Obviously, use any sides you like or have to hand for this dish. This is just an idea.
- 2/3rd cup farro.
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon (mushroom, vegetarian or chicken). Try to use a low sodium formulation. (Alternatively, use a good, preferably homemade, stock, 2 cups, and skip the water.)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (kala jeera), lightly crushed.
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, peeled, slivered, and chopped.
- Optional internal organs: Heart, liver, cleaned gizzard.
- 1/2 cucumber. Skin completely if waxed or large. Sliced fine. (I used those baby Kirby cukes, hence the skin remains on.)
- Drizzle of apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
Briefly sauté the chopped onion in a little oil, set aside.
Cook farro according to package, OR, put 2/3rds cup into 2 cups of water in your rice cooker. Add onion, bouillon (if not already using stock), and cumin seeds. Add the optional organ bits. Close the unit and cook. (As an option, instead of some of the water, you can substitute in with home-made stock or broth.)
The rice cooker will keep the farro dish warm while any final steps need to be completed with the quail – including quail resting.
For plating, arrange the cucumber slices, the farro dish, and the quail. Spritz the cucumber with the oil and vinegar (or use a different dressing as you choose). Provide a wedge of lime or lemon for each quail – this really does kick up the quail a couple of notches further.
Sit back. Enjoy. Use your FINGERS to eat quail! You don’t want to miss any morsels of delight!
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