Meals and Courses

  • 12 shallots
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 4 plump quail
  • 40 g (1½ oz) butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ripe pears, cored and cut into wedges
  • 225 g (7½ oz) dried Puy lentils
  • 1 cinnamon stick, halved
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz) chicken stock (see page 36 for homemade)
  • salt
  • watercress, to serve

Place the shallots in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Peel away the skins, leaving the shallots whole.

Mix together the ginger, chilli powder and a little salt and rub all over the quail. Melt the butter with the oil in a flameproof casserole and fry the quail for 5 minutes, until browned on all sides. Drain to a plate.

Add the shallots and pears to the casserole, turning them in the butter for a few minutes until beginning to colour. Lift out the pears and set aside, then return the quail to the pan.

Rinse the lentils in cold water and tip around the quail. Add the cinnamon stick and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 50 minutes until the quail are cooked through and the lentils are tender.

Stir the pears into the lentils and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Serve with watercress.

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