Quail with honey, thyme and figs

Quail with honey, thyme and figs

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
4 quail
thyme sprigs
40g butter, softened
2-3 drops anchovy essence
4 figs
2 teaspoons clear honey
50ml pedro ximenez sherry or port
50ml Brown chicken and veal stock
freshly ground black pepper
watercress, to garnish


  1. Heat the grill to its highest setting and the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Spatchcock and skewer the quail. Finely chop enough thyme leaves to give you ½ teaspoon, mix into 30 g of the butter with a few drops of anchovy essence and season with salt and pepper. Carefully release the skin over each quail breast by inserting a finger from the neck end between the breast and skin. Spread a quarter of the flavoured butter over each quail breast, under the skin.
  3. Place the quail, skin side up, on a lipped baking tray or shallow roasting tin and rub the remaining softened butter over them. Season with salt and pepper and grill for 3–5 minutes until the skin is browned and crisp.
  4. Cut a deep cross into the figs through the stem end to come three-quarters of the way down. Squeeze the base of each fig a little to open out the quarters.
  5. Once the quail are brown, add the figs to the roasting tin and scatter the leaves of 2 thyme sprigs over them. Drizzle the honey, sherry and stock over the quail and figs. Cook in the oven for 10–15 minutes, taking care that neither the quail nor the figs burn. To check that the quail are cooked, cut down to the base on the non-skin side; the meat can be served pink. Remove the skewers.
  6. Serve the quail and figs, drizzled with the pan juices, with a watercress garnish.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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