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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nigel's Five Spice Quail

Some interest in the five spice quail consumed (absolutely) whilst in Texas.

Would be an honour to claim this as my own but it's a riff on one of Nigel Slater's.  If you haven't read any of his pieces (many) for The Observer please do so.  While you are at it, pick up a copy of The Kitchen Diaries.  Just lovely words on food....

5 Spice Quail

1 large clove garlic (you know not to use the ones with the green bit right?)
1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
The juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 quail (game hens can be substituted)
Sea or Kosher salt

Grab a decent sized bowl.  Peel and smash garlic.  Stir in lemon juice, oil, cayenne, and five spice powder.  Apply a good pinch of salt (more like two good ones).  Coat quail with seasoning mix.  Be sure to coat evenly but gently.  Put in the fridge/cooler for a couple of hours and forget about them.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chuck birds and juices into a roasting pan.  Not too big but you don't want them to touch either.  Roast 20-25 minutes turning once.  Birds should look dark and a bit crispy when finished.  Serve with a lemon and some good chunky bread for the juices.

Quite a few beers are good with these birds.  The salty, sweet, spicy stickiness of the flesh is a great pairing with everything from Tsing Tao to the less exotic Shiner.  Johnny Walker Blue....not so good.

Four birds leaves two wanting a bit more.  Three each would be too much.


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