24 June 2011

spice roast quail with carrot & pine nut stuffing and orange cous cous

There is, I must admit, a small eensy weensy obsession with Al Brown in this house.  Not stalking, hearts drawn with a cupid arrow kinda obsession.  More of a culinary hero worship sort of thing.  We follow his blog and tweets, have his Go Fish and Coasters books, watch reruns of Hunger for the Wild, etc.

Every now and again, a recipe will go up on his blog and we'd drool over it.  But to be honest, haven't felt that we had enough skills to pull them off at home.  Well, not until a recent spice roasted quail recipe.

Now I have to point out that yours truly has never seen a quail alive, let alone dead.  And I always thought that it was one of those meats that you had to go shoot for yourself, or a hunting mate do it for you.  Didn't have a clue.  So one fine afternoon, I thought I'd send Mr Brown a tweet asking him if he got his quails from Moore Wilson.  I figured if I didn't get a reply, then I'd just quietly forget about it...

From the photo in this post, you can see that I got a reply!

So off we went to get our quails.  I've never been so tickled by a dead bird.  I've cooked poussin before but these quails were so...little!  Plucked, headless and feetless wee little things.  They were borderline comical!  Anyway, I was glad each pack came with 4 quails, so there was 2 for each of us.

It was getting late and I decided not to bone the quails as per the recipe.  I think if I attempted to do that, 1. I would have butchered it (no delicate boning skills here), and 2. dinner would have been served at 10pm.  Now if we were maybe French, 10pm dinner maybe de riguer.  But seeing that we're not, I think I would have been pushing it having dinner ready at that time of the night!  So as you can see, it was whole instead of boned quails.

I was so intent with getting everything done right that I didn't take any photos during the prep or cooking process.  But I did managed to take a few pics of the final product just before serving it up.  All in all, I was pretty proud of myself.

The stuffing is out of this world.  Seriously.  Its like one of the best stuffing recipes I've made.  It is a tad bit expensive as it does call for 1 cup of pine nuts.  But let me tell you, it's well worth it.  I was eating just the leftover stuffing on its own for lunch the next day.  I have future plans for this stuffing!

A tip - loose pine nuts from the bins at the supermarket actually comes in more expensive.  I bought 2 small pre-packed pine nuts (I think they may have been Pams) which was exactly 1 cup and it cost about $8 total.  The pine nuts from the bins came in at almost $12 for the same amount.

Anyway, this is becoming one helluva long post, and since I don't have lots of photos to break it up, I think I should just finish it up soon.

I made everything from the recipe, including the cous cous (that's super yummy too!) and cucumber yoghurt.  I also added some broccolini on the side for greens.  So if you're looking to cook something special this weekend, or just want to cook something you've not done before, you should look at making this.  It isn't a difficult recipe to follow at all and it's sure to impress.

Spice Roast Quail with Carrot & Pine Nut Stuffing and Orange Cous Cous
I won't lay out the entire recipe - you can find it on Al Brown's blog.


  • Moore Wilson sells quails frozen in packs of 4.  Since there was only 2 of us, I only bought one pack.  But I still followed the exact recipe for the stuffing and cous cous, which was great as we had left over stuffing and cous cous the next day for lunch!
  • If like me, you haven't boned out the quail, I found that it was easier to stuff the cavities by pipping the stuffing in because the quails are so small and cavity opening not very wide.  Just place the stuffing into a medium-large zip lock bag and snip a small opening at one corner of the bag to make an impromptu pipping bag.


  1. Sounds a great recipe, I must pop over and check it out. I love couscous and the orange is intriguing.

  2. Allison - this cous cous dish is both sweet and salty. A really nice combination!


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