Five Spice Oven Roasted Quail - Spicy sweet sour cranberry sauce - crispy black bean bacon potatoes- wok fried carrots and cavolo nero I love the traditional Christmas turkey dinner but it’s always nice to have an alternative. I’ve opted for Quail this year instead. Quail is light, mildly gamey, healthy and so quick and fuss free to cook and eat. If you have special guests, it’s quite impressive to have each bird on the plate and no pressure of carving at the table. I have kept the meal paired down and simple. No stuffing, although you could bake it and add it to the meal. It just means more space for mince pies and a nice cheeseboard later! I’m using a lot of Chinese ingredients to add warm and spice and plenty of umami – deep savoury flavours – from five spice to in the quail seasoning, to fermented salted black beans to the potatoes and dark soy to the gravy. Don’t underestimate the richness of flavour that can be brought to your Christmas dinner using some traditional Chinese store cupboard ingredients. The wok dried carrots and cavolo nero make the perfect sides to this rich and tasty dish. Is rich and punchy but, oh so good! Love, Ching x Five Spice Oven Roasted Quail - Spicy sweet sour cranberry sauce - crispy black bean bacon potatoes- wok fried carrots and cavolo nero For the potatoes 1kg of Organic Vivaldi potatoes, washed, bruised edges peeled, otherwise peel on, chopped into 1inch wedges cubed pieces 1.5 litres of water Pinch of salt To finish the potatoes 1-2 tablespoon of peanut oil 1-2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 1 teaspoon fermented salted black beans, rinsed and crushed ¼ teaspoon dried roasted chilli flakes 120g oak smoked bacon lardons 2-3 tablespoons rapeseed oil or goose fat (optional) For the Spicy sweet sour cranberry sauce 300g cranberries, washed 100g soft brown sugar 2-3 tablespoons water 1 lemon juiced 1 small orange, juiced 2 star anise 1 teaspoon dry roasted chilli flakes For the Quail 4 X (560g) Organic Quails, cleaned 4 pieces of small butcher string 10cm each Spice mix for the Quail 2 teaspoon Chinese five spice 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes 8 pinches of salt 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil Stuffing for inside each Quail 1 inch fresh root ginger, peeled, sliced into small coins, divided into 8 pieces 1 small orange, peel removed into 1inch curls, divided into 8 pieces 2 spring onion, sliced 1 inch slices, divided into 8 pieces For lining the base of the roasting tray for the Quail 4 baby shallots, peeled and sliced 2 spring onions, sliced into 2 inch pieces 1 tablespoon shaosing rice wine For the Gravy 700ml of organic chicken stock 4-5 tablespoons of plain flour 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce For the carrots 300g of small baby heritage carrots (less than 10cm length) or normal carrots (sliced using potato peeler into thin slices) tops removed, washed, cooked in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drained. For the Cavolo Nero (and carrots) 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil 320g cavolo nero, washed, sliced to 1 inch pieces 2 generous pinches of sea salt Method: Place the potatoes in a pan of water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil, then cook covered, simmering on medium heat 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain. Place cranberries in a medium pan and add the soft brown sugar, water, lemon juice, orange juice, star anise and chilli flakes. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have softened. Put the lid on, keep on a very low heat to keep warm. Peheat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare the quail, wash and rinse well under cold tap. Pat dry. Make the spice mix for the quail by combining all the ingredients. Season the inside of every bird and stuff each bird with two pieces of ginger, orange peel, and spring onion. Sew up the cavity with a small metal pin or small bamboo skewer. This will help keep the inside of the bird moist and gentle steam from the spring onion and ginger will add flavour and help keep the meat from the inside as it cooks. Brush each bird with some rapeseed oil, and with the rest of the spice mix sprinkled over and season each bird. Tie the hind legs up with butcher string. Line the base of the roasting tray with the sliced baby shallots and sliced spring onion. Season the bird and vegetables with 1 tablespoon of shaosing rice wine. Place the quail on the vegetables and roast for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees until the skin is crisp and golden. (Depending on your oven, check the oven 3/4 through cooking time to make sure the leg of the quail isn’t burning, you can cover the legs with foil or reduce the heat down). Heat a wok over high heat and add the peanut oil. Add in the ginger, crushed fermented black beans, smoked lardons, dried chillies. Cook for a few seconds then add in the cooked potatoes and wok fry tossing in the wok for a few minutes to marry the flavours together and to soften the edges of the potatoes. Season with 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce and toss well. Then transfer the potatoes to a tray, drizzle over some rapeseed oil and roast in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes until crispy. Pre-blanch some heritage carrots in a pan of water cooking for 2-3 minutes. Drain. To assemble the meal, remove the Quail from the oven once cooked. Transfer to a board, and cut off the string, let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer the juices of the tray to a small pan, add the chicken stock and bring to the boil and then whisk in the flour to thicken the gravy. Add a tablespoon of dark soy sauce. Keep hot on low heat. Heat up a wok over high heat, add the rapeseed oil and add the cavolo nero cabbage and can quick wok fry in 1 minute. Then add a small splash of water around the edges to create some steam. Toss cooking for 1 minute, then add the carrots to the wok, toss together and season with generous pinches of cracked sea salt. On warm plates, to serve, place a small mound of carrots and cavolo nero on one side of the plate, one small mound of potatoes on one side, with Quail off centre. Add a tablespoon of the spicy sweet sour cranberry sauce on the side. Transfer the gravy to individual jugs of gravy. Serve immediately. Serve extra vegetables on serving plates, gravy on the table for guests to help themselves to more.
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