The recipe below is just the way I want it, perfect. The first time I made it, I kind of started following Rick Stein’s recipe which was totally different. It consisted of dividing all the ingredients over week jars and filling them up with extra water and olive oil. Then you had to place them both in boiling water to make the quails poach in the liquid. And it worked! Don’t let the thought of pickled poultry put you off: you will adore it!
Quail en Escabeche
But then over the years I stopped doing that. So now here’s the way I make my quail en escabeche! This recipe is also perfect for other fowl, like partridges or pheasants. You can keep this dish in the fridge for up to 4 days. Do turn the birds in the marinade every now and then. Great sides to serve it with: a mixed green salad and crunchy French bread.
I recommend you cut the quails up into smaller bits if you serve them as a tapa for multiple people.
Quail en escabeche, the perfect dish for when you need a gorgeous starter or main dish! And easy to make a day or two in advance...
- 2 fresh quails
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 large fresh carrot sliced
- 4 large whole garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tbsp dried herbs
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ¼ cups chicken stock (300 ml)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar (120 ml)
- a pinch of saffron threads or powder
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Tie the legs of the quail together with a little piece of kitchen twine so that they stay together with cooking.
- Then season the fresh quails inside and outside with a little salt and ground pepper. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a non-stick frying pan and place this over high heat until the oil is hot. Then add the quails breast side down and fry them fiercely for a couple of minutes until the meat is nicely browned on one side.
- Turn them over and brown them on the other uncooked side for another couple of minutes. Then transfer the quails to a clean plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same hot pan and turn the heat to medium. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and carrot, the whole garlic cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and dried herbs. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Gently fry the vegetables for 10 minutes. Then pour in the vinegar and the chicken stock. Also add the saffron powder or threads.
- Bring this mixture to a light simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Then add the browned quails back to the pan and cover.
- Simmer the quails for 4 minutes on both sides. Then transfer the birds to a baking dish and pour in the spiced mixture from the pan and the vegetables as well.
- Let the quails cool down fully. Then cover the dish with tinfoil and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours. Then place each quail on a deep plate and divide the carrots evenly. Drizzle with a little escabeche juice and serve.