The Holy Quail with Bacon thecha and Chorizo Jam
The Holy Quail - Slow roasted bird in herb garlic butter, stuffed with bacon butter and spiced tender boneless chicken thighs, topped off with a smokey citrus chilli glaze and bacon dust, served on a bed of caramelised chorizo onions
1. Fresh Whole Quails (2- 4, The whole birds without skin)
2. Boneless chicken thighs (half kilo, with skin)
3. Two whole Onions
4. Fresh Garlic
5. Powdered spices - Salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes, basil flakes, dried rosemary
6. Buttermilk/Pickle juice for brining
7. Nomad spicy bacon thecha
8. Nomad chorizo jam
9. Salted Butter / Garlic Butter
10. Any citrus flavoured hot sauce to glaze
11. Soft Bread
12. Two non-stick pans (frying pan or sauce pan will do) and a pair of Tongs (Not to be misread as thongs, but hey, whatever’s comfortable for you. This is a safe and delicious space)
1. First and foremost, Crack open a cold one because things are about to get feisty.
2. Remove your respective proteins (whole quails and boneless chicken thighs) from their packaging and give them a good rinse.
3. Marinate the quails and the boneless chicken thighs in a dry rub comprising of the following herbs - Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper powder, paprika powder, dried parsley flakes, dried basil flakes.
4. Add a dash of sesame oil to assist in the marination process.
5. Add a teaspoon of Nomad spicy bacon thecha to the herb mix.
6. Add a splash of buttermilk/ bread and butter pickle juice to the marinade. This will aid in tenderising the meat.
7. Once all the above have been added, give your birds a good, loving massage. Don’t hold back. Ensure that the marinade reaches every crack and crevice. Remember, the longer the massage, the better the dish will taste.
8. Mix two teaspoon of Nomad bacon thecha with a big dollop of butter. Now, using your fingers, rub this buttery bacon mix all along the hollow of the quails and under the skin of your boneless chicken thighs. This will help keep it moist during the cooking process.
9. Now gently stuff the marinated chicken thighs into the hollow of the quails. One small chicken thigh should fit into the hollow of one quail. The compact packing will enable the birds to absorb maximum flavour while they sit in the fridge.
10. Marinate for 4 - 6 hours or overnight for maximum impact.
11. Time for the main event - You will need two pans. Both can be used simultaneously on the stove top
12. Finely chop up 2 onions and 4 to 6 cloves of garlic (varies depending on taste). Sautè the onions in a little butter on a warm pan until they turn translucent. Then add the chopped garlic, a little salt, some cayenne pepper powder. Stir it on a low flame until it begins to brown. Now add half a teaspoon of Nomad chorizo jam to the mix. Continue to cook on low flame until the onions caramelise. Set the pan aside for later.
13. Place your pan on the stove on low heat. Add a little bit of butter and sesame oil to your pan and allow it to warm up. Now add the exact same mix of dry herbs and spices added to your earlier marinade - salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Toast the spices on low heat until they begin to brown.
14. Remove your marinated birds from the fridge. This is a dish best cooked in the oven but given that a stovetop is the most easily accessible, we have used this method to cook the birds to great success.
15. Add the whole birds with the stuffed chicken breasts to your frying pan. (Make sure the flame is on low - medium). You can cook upto two quails in one pan (depending on the size)
16. Allow the stuffed Quails to cook for 5 - 6 minutes. Get your pair of tongs (assuming you’re not already in them.) You’re going to slowly pull out the chicken thighs from the quail hollow, mid cook. (You may wonder why we can’t just separate them like normal human beings and cook them individually. Well - there’s two reasons for that. The first is that I was encouraged to channel my inner Heston for this experiment. The second, is that the low and slow heat enables the flavour to permeate through the stuffed chicken and into the insides of the quail, making it a much more wholesome dish that doesn’t feel like two separate birds.
17. Once you’ve successfully and I hope artfully completed the tedious task of separating the birds (If it feels remotely similar to the birthing process, you’re good) , cook them together in the same pan with plenty of affection.
18. Go by your instinct. The great Marco Pierre White said that a labourer is someone who works just with their hands, a craftsman is someone who works with their hands and their brain and an artist is someone who channels their heart along with the rest. Trust your heart.
19. Season the meat occasionally with a little extra spice, be generous with a dollop of butter to keep things tender and moist. At this stage, there is no fixed recipe, it’s all about trusting your heart and the process.
20. Keep flipping the chicken and quail from time to time, Since your flame is on low - medium, there’s less risk of overcooking it even if it does take a little longer to cook, you have the best chance of getting tender, moist meat. Use a sweet, citrus hot sauce like a Lemon-chilli or pineapple chilli hot sauce, sourced from your local hot sauce vendors to constantly glaze the birds. Alternatively, you could look up a recipe online and prepare your own citrus hot sauce blend at home. It will enhance flavour of the meat but the sugars also ensure you get a nice caramelisation on the cook. Continue to add a sprinkle of spices, bacon dust and butter baste as and when you feel it’s required. There are no quantities, we measure that stuff with our hearts.
21. Check the cook on the quail, if you’re happy with it (beyond the 20 minute mark), remove the quails from the pan. Note that the quail is a lean meat and takes lesser time to cook than the chicken, which would require at least another 5 - 6 minutes on the stove. You may briefly crank up the heat to quicken the process, but remember that this recipe is all about the low and slow. Which reminds me to remind you to keep another beer handy.
22. For your finishing touches, add a sprinkle of our favourite Nomad Bacon thecha to the chicken breasts, just for an extra bacony bite and goodness. Now, once both your birds have cooked through, allow them to rest for about 10 minutes, Tend to your chorizo onions, warm them for a few minutes on the stove. They will serve as the base for your plating.
23. Use a pretty bowl with a deeper hollow base for your plating. Place the caramelised chorizo onions on the base of the plate. Now gently stuff your tender, boneless chicken thigh into the hollow of the Quail. Since the quail is a very lean, albeit delicious bird, the chicken will help add volume and bite to the meal. You may also serve another thigh alongside it with two slices of bread that have foraged through the delicious caramelised buttery goodness on the bottom of the frying pan.
And Voila! There you have it, The Holy Quail is ready to be served.