Monday, 19 April 2010


The title should actually read: BBQ grilled quail marinated in pomegranate molasses and moroccan spices with a blood orange and tarragon sauce. Served with grilled chicory wedges and roasted vegetable couscous. 

Yep, this one was special. It was a sparkling weekend in London. Spring has definitely sprung and the BBQ was busted out. Due to an Icelandic volcano poor bexy was still stuck in Ireland so missed out – but by all accounts had her own set of gastronomic adventures in Dublin. I definitely had one here.

This is actually my brother JP's handiwork. He was testing out some new combos for an upcoming dinner party.  The pomegranate molasses is perfect as a base for a sweet, tangy marinade and was given an extra kick with the addition of Ras el Hanout (a delicious blend of over 25 spices from Moroccan cuisine).

The blood orange and tarragon sauce was there for tartness, and the chicory wedges were there for aniseedy bitterness and to offset the sweetness of the marinade. The lovely warm flavours of roasted vegetable couscous with odd bursts of parsley and mint rounded out the dish. This was an awesome meal.

4 Whole Quail
4 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses (could substitute with a reduced pomigraniate juice)
Sprinkling of Ras el Hanout spice mix
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 blood oranges
Handful of tarragon
Handful of mint
Handful of broadleaf parsley
Salt & Pepper
3 Red Chicory (endive), quartered lengthways
1 capsicum (pepper)
12 cherry tomatoes (on vine if possible)
100g asparagus spears 
100g couscous

Grilled quails & chicory
Remove kidneys and entrails if they still have them. Cover quails with Pomegranate Molasses and add good covering of Ras el Hanout, cracked pepper and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate and marinate as long as you can. Ideal would be 1 - 4 hours (although we only managed 30 mins)

After marinating place Quails on a hot BBQ grill for around 4 minutes a side. Drizzle with remaining marinade as you cook it. Try to minimise turning so as to preserve the attractive grill marks. Skewer legs and breast to see if juices run clear. Let meat rest before plating up.

Whilst out with the BBQ. Drizzle the the quatered chicory wedges with olive oil and grill for 2-3 minutes so they are slightly charred, softened but still crunchy. If using coal fired BBQ try not to let too much excess oil fall onto coals as the resulting oil fire ball can leave unpleasant burnt oil flavour / coating.

Roast vegetable couscous
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cut out stem and seeds of Capsicum - but largely keeping it whole. Add the capsicum, cherry tomatoes on vine to a small roasting tray. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn components once or twice. Add final blast under grill setting for final few minutes. Ideally will be soft and falling apart. Possibly charcoaled. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Cut into strips and large pieces for tossing into couscous.

Snap off asparagus woody section at bottom of aspargus stems. Fry in pan for 2 - 3 minutes until softened but still crunchy. You could also steam them if you prefer.

Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet. We like to use vegtable stock instead of water to give it extra flavour.  As a rule of thumb use twice the volume of water / stock to couscous

Roughly chop a handful of broadleaf parsley and mint. Add the roasted veg, asparagus and herbs to the cooked couscous. Toss all together with another splash of olive oil. Season and serve.

Blood orange & Tarragon sauce
Peel blood oranges. Carefully remove segments of the orange with knife (avoiding pithy white bits). Put aside into bowl. Squeeze juice from left over pithy / pulpy bits into bowl also. Roughly chop Tarragon and add to bowl. Add a healthy splash of olive oil, pinch of sea salt and black pepper.  (If you like you could also add splash of pomegranate juice here - we forgot to buy some on the day).

To Finish
Plate up using the three major elements on the plate and then drizzling the quails with the blood organge tarragon sauce. Lush!


Catherine said...

This looks very swish indeed! Restaurant quality!

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