A Recipe from Rebecca: Thomasina Miers’ Quail with Turkish Runner Beans

September 18, 2022 by General Administrator

Quail cook in no time; you can order them from Aubrey Allen, in Leamington. Here the little birds are served on a bed of runner beans tossed with a spicy, roasted tomato and red pepper sauce, and topped with Greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of dill. Serve with good bread for a really special dinner.

Thomasina points out that the sauce is also delicious on pasta. Cook some spaghetti, and throw in some spinach a few minutes before it’s done. Drain (keeping back a teacup of the cooking water), return to the pan, and stir in the sauce, along with the teacup of water. Mix together over low heat for a minute or two, to allow the flavours to meld, and serve with some grated cheese.

Quail with runner beans and roast red pepper and tomato sauce
Serves four.

Photo from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/08/quail-runner-beans-roast-red-pepper-sauce-recipe-turkish-thomasina-miers

For the Turkish beans
2 red peppers
2 garlic cloves, skin left on
4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, divided into two portions
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to drizzle over the tomatoes and peppers before they roast.
700g runner beans, tough outer edges shaved off, and cut into 4cm lengths

For the quail
1 garlic clove, peeled
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 quails
2 teaspoons harissa

To serve
Greek yoghurt
Fresh dill, finely chopped

Prepare the Turkish beans: Heat the oven to 220C. Put the peppers and the 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic on one side of an oven tray and the tomatoes (skin side up) on the other. Season everything with salt, pepper, half the thyme, and a drizzle of oil. Roast for 20 minutes, then check on the garlic: if it’s soft, remove from the tray and set aside. If not, give it three or four minutes more. Turn over the peppers and return the tray to the oven for five to 10 minutes, until the peppers and tomatoes are slightly blackened. Set aside and leave for 10 minutes.

Once they are cool peel the skin off the peppers, using your fingers or a small knife. Discard the skin, and then cut in half. Remove and discard the seeds and stem. Slip the roast garlic out of its papery skin. Put the garlic, peppers and tomatoes in a food processor, add the remaining thyme, harissa and the two tablespoons of olive oil, and blitz to a coarse sauce. Season to taste and transfer to a medium saucepan.
Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook the beans for five minutes, or until al dente. Drain, and then tip the beans into the sauce. Mix together and cook on a low heat for five minutes, so the sauce thickens and reduces, and thoroughly coat the beans. Set aside; when you are ready to serve reheat it over a gentle flame until it is warmed through.

Prepare the Quail: Preheat the oven to 220C. Crush the garlic to a rough paste in a pestle with the salt, then add the cinnamon, allspice and two tablespoons of oil. Put the quail on an oven tray and rub all over with the spiced oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until the skin is crisp and the legs come away easily from the sides. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, spoon some of the beans on to the centre of each plate and top with a quail. Finish with a dollop of yoghurt and a scattering of chopped dill.

Recipe adapted from The Guardian, 2017

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