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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Roasted Quail stuffed with Figs, Walnuts, and Spinach

To welcome my special guests this week, I wanted to go fancy, but still I wanted to stay true to my own cooking.  The way I go about this is to buy things I've never cooked before, such as quail, but create the recipe as I go.  All I did was look up baking time for quail to make sure I wouldn't overcook or undercook it.  For the rest, into the heart of my inspiration and my pantry and came up with a stuffing I knew would be a crowd pleaser.
Serves 5
5 quails
3 large or 5 small shallots, chopped
few pinches fleur de sel
1 tsp dried thyme
drizzle olive oil + 1 Tbsp
250g (8.8oz) fresh spinach, rinsed
3 cloves garlic, chopped
pinch piment d'espelette
juice from 1/2 lime
250g (8.8oz) fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
16 walnuts, shelled and lightly chopped
10 dried figs (depending on the size.. mine were big) chopped
5 cloves garlic, grated
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
few grinds black pepper
1.  Make the stuffing by mixing everything together so the ingredients are evenly coated and well distributed.
2.  Spoon the stuffing into the birds.  Fill them up as much as you can.  I ended up using my hands.  There is no better utensil than your own fingers.
 3.  Place the chopped shallots into a baking dish and arrange the stuffed birds on top.  I should have cooked them breast side down, but I forgot to flip them.  Sprinkle some fleur de sel, thyme, and pepper and then drizzle them with olive oil.
 4.  Bake at 200°C 400°F for 40-50 minutes, basting from time to time.
5.  While the baking is happening, sautée the spinach in a pan with the Tbsp olive oil and garlic.  Cook until it wilts and sprinkle it with lime juice and piment d'espelette.
Serve over the sautéed spinach.  I served mine with a mixed green salad as well.
My spinach was served 3 different ways.. baked inside the birds, sautéed under the birds, and raw in a salad alongside the birds.
Big hit, lovely flavors.. perfection.

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