Quail with Carrots, Morel Mushrooms & Cassava

Quail with Carrots, Morel Mushrooms & Cassava

What’s up, everyone? Hope all is well in the culinary world. The winter blues are almost over? I’m sorry I haven’t been up to date on the blog. To be honest I did do some recipe testing and they didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to so I didn’t bother to post about it. That’s a topic for the next blog post, though.

Today I bring to you a simple, elegant ingredient; Quail. Probably one of the tiniest game birds you can get, but with a very subtle taste of the wild. This dish was influenced by a few things I like & memories I have from in the kitchen. The carrot sauce is a combination of two dishes. At Avoce we used to make carrot puree with orange juice. I always found it had a little bit too much orange juice in the recipe so I adjusted it to my liking. The cardamom in the puree was from my last few months at The Culinary Institute of America. My Professor, Lynne Gigliotti had done a quail dish with beans and carrot puree with cardamom. I thought it was heaven on a plate. I liked my professor, she was strong assertive but still had the mothering nature to her. It was like she had figured out how to balance them out. Those are the main influences on this dish today guys. Let’s get to it! 


Quail

  • 2 Quail (ribcage removed)
  • 4 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 Lemon Zest
  • 1 Grated Garlic
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Carrot Puree

  • 300 g Carrots diced
  • 100 g Fresh Orange Juice
  • 30 g Unsalted Butter
  • 4-5 Cardamom Pods
  • Salt

Meat Stock

  • 5 qt. Water
  • 3-4 lb. Bones (Chicken, Rabbit & Quail)
  • 3 lb. Mirepoix (Carrots, Onions, Celery)
  • 5 Bay leaf
  • ½ Bunch Parsley
  • ½ Bunch Thyme
  • 1 Head Garlic
  • Black Pepper

Mushroom Black Tea

Cassava

Quail is so affordable! I got mine from Sanagan's Meat Locker in Kensington Market. This may take some time to master but deboning Quail is a job that requires patience and practice. The bones are fine obviously because of the size of it, I mean I can fit two of them in my hand. You should be gentle and keep in mind its skeletal structure, it’s very similar to that of a chicken. Make sure you have a sharp deboning knife, you cannot get away with using a dull knife. 

Marinade, the quail using all the ingredients. Grate the garlic and give the quail a proper massage, make sure it's covered all over with the lemon, garlic & Black pepper. Place two bay leaf inside and fold the quail over them so they wouldn’t move. Let sit for 24 hours. You can prep everything else except the Cassava the day before. My suggestion is to get the stock on the fire early in the day, roast your bones @400 F. I then added all my ingredients(chopped), filled it with the water and let it go. I reduced mine to 16 oz. That seems a bit insane, I know, but I didn’t add any salt to the stock and it was rich with pure poultry gaminess and I loved it.
Peel your carrots, give them a rough chop. Juice your orange. On a low heat, you are going to cook the carrots in a saucepan with all the ingredients until the carrots are fork tender, lightly salt. Be sure to cover with a lid to keep the moisture in. The smell might get a little intoxicating.
While those are cooking, boil your water. Be sure to boil more than you need. I steeped the mushrooms and tea in a container with a lid because I didn’t want to lose any steam. Place mushrooms in the container and the tea in a loose tea bag, pour hot water into the container, cover and steep for twenty minutes. Remove the bag and leave mushrooms to soak in the tea for 24 hours.


Now before I go any further, I had been thinking about using tea in a recipe for a while. This Lapsang is a very smokey and smooth black tea. About a month ago, I had asked a friend for some guidance on a savoury tea from Davids Tea, I told her that I wanted to cook with it, so she helped me out. After a few sniffs from a few containers, I went with the Lapsang, I hadn’t quite figured out what to do with it just yet. I used it in a practice dish after I got a bag. 


Back to the present, if your carrots are done, separate the liquid from solid and add the solids to the blender and slowly add the liquid to get the right consistency. You want it to be stiff; adjust your seasoning, push through a fine strainer. Save in container until next day.
Once your Meat Stock is 60% reduced, strain through a fine strainer, reduce by half. Once reduced, pour into a container and let it cool. Reserve until the next day. 
So, 24 hours has passed, it’s the next day and you’re ready to finish this dish. Get a medium sized pot, fill with water (enough to cover cassava), season with salt and add dye. Stir until totally black.


Grab your Cassava and cut into 2-inch logs, using a peeler remove the skin. Now you may notice that there is almost another layer under the white layer. It’s like a sweet potato. If you aren’t sure what I am talking around, take a left-over piece and peel it and you will see the second layer I am referring to. You want to peel all of them to that layer, if you don’t there will be pieces of skin that don’t quite look like the rest of the cassava. Place the Cassava into the pot and bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Be sure to constantly check them with a cake tester every five minutes. They need to be fork tender. Pour out water, be very gentle with them. Dehydrate for one hour. If you don't have a dehydrator use the oven. Bake @ 150F for one hour.

When 50 minutes are up, start to warm up your carrot puree, keep your stock and tea nearby. Get a small non-stick pan on a medium to high heat with oil. Get your quail, season with salt last minute, and place skin side down. Don’t move, let it get a crispy skin and some colour. Then add 3 mushrooms in the pan and turn the quail over. Add 4 tbsp. of stock with 3 tbsp. of mushroom tea. Baste until cooked all the way through. Reduce sauce to a thick consistency. Remove cassava from the dehydrator. Sauce up that plate, add your quail & cassava, drizzle with sauce. Finish with salt and some micro greens, or oregano. Serve! 
Once again, this dish will blow your friends away. Get up, grab a Quail from Sanagan’s Meat locker in Kensington market. I got my Morel mushrooms from Loblaws a while ago. Bulk Barn has got a 4g container of Black food dye. Go have some fun. Have an awesome day everyone! 

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