I made up this recipe tonight, wanting to do something a little different with the quail. It is similar to the recipe that I use for roasted pork, only I added some raisins and bacon to the dish. We served it with brown rice and butter, and the sweetness of the raisins mixed well with the depth of flavor that the quail offers and nuttiness of the rice. (Note that the photo is of a salad sized plate. Quail is a relatively small bird).
Quail breasts (by all means use whole quail instead if you have them)
Chopped onions (green, red, or yellow)
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
1. Butter your dish generously, mainly to add a bit of fat to the quail. Many game birds are significantly dryer than their farm raised counterparts.
2. Clean the quail well, being sure to check for any shot that might have been missed when the birds were being processed
3. Set the quail cavity side down in the baking dish, salt and pepper, and brush with Dijon mustard. This isn’t an exact science—just brush them until the tops are well coated.
4. Top with a handful of raisins, and it is fine if they fall off of the birds. They will plump as they cook and add a touch of sweetness to the dish.
5. Add the rosemary leaves or end pieces to the top. Again, if some fall off, no big whoop. I might have added a 10 inch stalk worth of rosemary for this amount of quail.
6. Add the chopped onions. I probably used a half of a cup for this amount of quail. If you like onion, add more. If you don’t like it, feel free to omit.
7. Complete the dish by adding strips of bacon. Again note that this addition of fat will help to keep the quail from drying out so much. If you like, you can also add a dab of butter or olive oil to the tops of these, but it isn’t necessary.
Bake in a 350 degree oven, uncovered for approx 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Let the dish sit covered for another 5-10 minutes to complete cooking and let the juices reconstitute in the meat.
Next time I think I’ll experiment by adding some pomegranate jelly or a chutney to the birds to see how it works.