This is a great way to braise quail, but by all means if you don’t have an oven, or in fact don’t feel like using it, just cook on top of the stove on a gentle simmer. I love the way the flesh simply falls off the bone … you just shred it with your spoon or fork and don’t even have to pick the bones up with your fingers.
- 8 quail
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and cut into julienne
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 dried long red chillies, seeds removed and crushed
- 2 carrots, sliced into 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick rounds
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) quality red wine
- 400 g (14 oz) tinned tomatoes, juice reserved
- 150 ml (5 fl oz) chicken stock (page 245)
- Freshly ground pepper
Season the quail inside and out with sea salt. Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3).
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based, ovenproof pan. Add the quail to the pan, two or three at a time, and brown well on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, ginger, rosemary, thyme, chilli and carrot and sauté for 2 minutes, or until starting to soften.
Add the wine and simmer until reduced. Add the tomato and its juice, stock and quail, breast side down, season to taste and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, gently turn the quail over, return the pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes, or until well browned. Remove from the oven; the quail should be almost falling apart. Check the seasoning of the sauce and adjust if necessary.
Spoon two quail into each of the pasta bowls, pour over the sauce and give a generous grind of pepper before serving.
Great with: Soft polenta and snow peas; otherwise, it is also great with rice or some small pasta like risoni.