Indian-style Quail in Beet, Apricot and Tomato Chutney

Indian-style Quail in Beet, Apricot and Tomato Chutney
Cook Time
4h 32 min
4 servings

Because they are such small birds, quail cook relatively quickly. In fact, you can grill or broil a split quail in just a few minutes. But for this recipe I braise them very slowly, at a low temperature, so that they can absorb all the spicy flavors of the chutney. Make sure to buy jumbo quail, which are nice and plump, and then cook them immediately if they aren’t still frozen (most quail you buy at a butcher will have been frozen). Quail have a very short shelf life. If you happen to be making this in, July apricot season, go ahead and substitute fresh fruit for the dried fruit in the salad. But out of season, dried apricots are better.



For the Fennel, Apricot and To

tsp saffron threads
cup extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
tsp white wine vinegar
fresh mint leaves, julienned
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
small fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise (preferably on a mandolin)
dried apricots or 2 pitted fresh apricots, thinly sliced lengthwise
cup cherry tomatoes, halved

For the Indian-style Quail in

medium yellow beets
dried apricots
cup packed fresh mint leaves
Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½
cup coarsely chopped peeled onion
Tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger root
tsp garam masala
tsp crushed coriander seeds
tsp ground turmeric
tsp saffron threads
star anise pods
hot green chili pepper (such as Serrano), split and seeded
plum tomatoes, peeled (if desired), seeded, and chopped
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
red apples (such as Rome), peeled, cored, and quartered
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
whole jumbo quail (6 to 8 ounces each), each with the breast deboned but the legs bone-in (ask your butcher to do this preparation for you)
cup vegetable oil, plus additional
Tbsp black mustard seeds
Fennel, Apricot, and Tomato Salad For Serving


Step 1

In a small pot on the stove, or in a small bowl in the microwave, warm 2 tablespoons water until hot. Remove from the heat, add the saffron, and let infuse until the water turns bright yellow, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discard
the saffron threads, and set the liquid aside.

Step 2

Whisk together the olive oil, lime zest and juice, vinegar, mint leaves, and saffron water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 3

In a salad bowl, toss the fennel, apricots, and tomatoes together with the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and

Step 4

Put a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in a baking pan and roast until they are easily pierced with a paring knife, 11/2 to 2 hours. Remove the beets from the oven. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them, and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes.

Step 5

Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the apricots and mint leaves, remove the pan from the heat,
and let cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor.

Step 6

Lower the oven temperature to 300°F. In a large cast-iron pot or flameproof roasting pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, gingerroot, garam masala, coriander seeds, turmeric, saffron, star anise, and chili pepper and sweat until the onion is lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, toss, and cook for 4 minutes more. Pour the orange juice and apricot puree into the pot, and stir to combine. Add the diced beets, bring to a simmer, and season to taste with salt. Transfer to the oven and bake for 60 minutes.

Step 7

While the sauce is cooking, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the apples are cool enough to handle, stuff each quail with an apple piece, and, for a nicer presentation, run a skewer through both legs, just below the knee, fitting 2 quail onto a skewer. Alternatively, you can skip the skewers; if a piece of apple pops out of a quail cavity, simply pop it back in.

Step 8

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Season the quail with salt and
pepper and press the mustard seeds evenly all over the quail. Add 4 quail to the skillet and sear on all sides until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining 4 quail, adding more oil to the skillet if needed.

Step 9

Put the quail, breast side down, in the tomato-beet chutney, pressing them into the mixture. Return the pot
to the oven and braise, uncovered, for 60 minutes. Serve with the salad.

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