April 5, 2013 Leave your thoughts
Roasting a whole chicken is great…but often, it leads to household warfare over who gets the juicy, flavorful dark meat and who’s stuck with the white meat.
With quail, everybody wins: each little bird has two legs and two wings to munch on. And—bonus—they take less than a half an hour to cook.
Of course, quail isn’t easy to find, but the search is definitely worth it. I got mine at our local butcher.
A note of caution: these little birds are often more skeleton than meat, so to avoid a pile of bones for dinner, try to buy them semi-boned.
To roast, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and grease a large glass roasting pan with olive oil or coconut oil. Dry the quails off with a paper towel, then place breast-side down in the pan. (They should be snug, but not overcrowded.) Season well with kosher salt and pepper.
Now, for the basting mixture, combine 1 tablespoon of melted ghee with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add 1 rounded tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 3 tablespoons of orange juice, and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of raw honey. Stir well and adjust to taste.
Pour half of the basting mixture over the quails and evenly spread them with a brush.
Roast for 10 minutes, then remove the quails from the oven and baste with the remaining mixture. If the pan seems particularly dry, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 chicken broth around the edges. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes to finish cooking.
To serve, I recommend plopping this birdies whole down on the plate. Really, they’re best eaten with your hands, so get messy and dig in!
With the quail, I made possibly my favorite roasted vegetable ever: beets.
My dad, on the other hand, HATES beets, but claims mine are the best he’s ever eaten. I prepare them very simply so the sweet, earthy flavor shines through.
Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a large baking sheet with olive oil or coconut oil.
Roughly chop the beets into large chunks, about 3/4 inch wide. It doesn’t have to be exact—just make sure they’re all about the same size. I used about 1 1/2 pounds in total, somewhere around 8 medium beets.
Put the beets in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of your fat of choice. I usually use olive oil, but coconut oil is also a good choice. Whatever you select, make sure it isn’t too overpowering! Season the beets with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika, a large pinch of salt, and a good crack of black pepper. Mix to combine.
Spread the beets evenly on the greased baking sheet, and roast for 45 minutes. Check the beets every 10-15 minutes and give them a good stir. They’re done when they begin to crisp up around the edges and are tender, but still have a bite to them in the center.
I also made a green salad with raspberry vinaigrette. I’d provide the recipe, but as is the case with most of my salad dressings, it becomes more of a random science experiment than a set formula.
Aside from chicken, what’s your favorite kind of poultry/fowl? Let me know in a comment!