Baked Quails with Bacon Rashers in White Grapes Sauce – A Christmas Eve Special

Posted: December 24, 2013 in Belgium, Christmas, Cook Your Books, Cooking with Herbs, Family, Main Course, Nostalgia, Poultry, Savoury, Weekend Cooking, Western
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It’s not Christmas Day yet in Belgium, but it is in some parts of the world already, however, chances are you would  probably be reading this post on or after Christmas Day 🙂

Here’s a picture I took of a part of our Christmas tree, with the cherub angel harping glorious message to you, my dear readers.

Angel_wp

Christmas Eve

While growing up in Malaysia, the Christmas Eve dinner and Midnight Mass were the pivotal points of our lives. My parents made sure everyone sat at the dinner table enjoying a 6- to 8-course meal together, after which we adjourned for the Midnight Mass. 

We did not bother to observe the time.  It could be 1 am or 1.30 am in the morning when we got home, but who cared.  It was Christmas Eve…erm…Day!

I missed those days…

Christmas Eve in Belgium is still a family thing, but not as boisterous as the one I knew growing up in Kuching 😉

I made a simple but special Christmas Eve lunch today.

This recipe is adapted from a festive catalogue of Colruyt, a Belgian family-owned retail corporation, most significantly known for its eponymous discount supermarket chain.

I was browsing through the brochure, and chanced upon a small column about Quails and how to prepare them.

Quails are categorised as a game bird and belong to the pheasant and partridge family. Great!  Sounds Christmassy. “… and a partridge in a pear tree…”

I bought 8 Quails, which looked like midget chickens or turkeys.

1. Quail

The recipe indicated only the method: Pan-fry the Quails in a pan to brown before placing in a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and wrap each quail with 3 bacon rashers. Sprinkle rosemary, thyme and crushed garlic and olive oil before baking in a pre-heated oven of 180°C for 30 to 40 minutes.

Not bad, I thought.  I meant, the recipe looked simple to follow, so why not, eh?

As usual, my creative right-brain got the better of me and whispered to my Grey Matter what I should add or omit from the ingredients 😀

Here were the ingredients I used to prepare the Quails –

  • 8 Quails, washed and cleaned
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A handful of fresh basils, torn roughly
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • Olive Oil

I made a special sauce to go with the Quails.

  • “White” Table Grapes, skin removed
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • Some Cognac for flambéing
  • Some water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Corn flour, to thicken the sauce

Method –

  • Pan-fry the quails to sear and brown the meat
  • Place the lightly brown quails on a bed of sliced onions, crushed garlic, roughly torn basils, chicken stock cube, freshly milled black pepper and olive oil
  • Cover the quails with the bacon rashers, like you would, a blanket over a child 😀
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven of 180°C for 40 minutes

2a. Quail2b. Quail

2c. Quail2d. Quail

To make the sauce, I sautéd the shallots, then added the alcohol while flambéing the sauce, which in my opinion enhanced the flavour of the sauce. I then added some water and seasoned to taste before thickening the sauce with a mixture of corn flour and small amount of water.  Finally, in went the skinned grapes just before plating up.

3a. Quail

Grapes

3b. Quail

3c. Quail

Our simple yet stupendously noteworthy Christmas Eve dish 😉

I’m sharing this post with the following links –

The December Cooking with Herbs Challenge…AND Christmas Spices!  hosted by Karen Burns-Booth of  Lavender and Lovage

Cooking-with-Herbs-300x252

Cook-Your-Books#7  hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

 Cook Your Books

Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads – Thinking, Reading, Photographing

Weekend Cooking

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!!

Cheers!

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Comments
  1. Beth F says:

    Merry Christmas! Wish I had been a guest at your table! We sometimes get quail, and I’m bookmarking this recipe to try.

  2. Ita says:

    Awesome! I can’t wait to try this. 🙂

  3. mel885 says:

    What a wonderful dish. I look only and i know it must be heavenly taste. Well done che. You should be called as the cooking accountant.

  4. Chris says:

    Merry Christmas, Isadora! This dish looks absolutely amazing! And I bet it tasted amazing too. 😀 Things have been insane this whole month…which I know for sure you can relate. Hope you’ll have a little time to relax in the midst of it all. Btw, I did send you little package…let me know when you receive it. 😀 There was actually an accident in my local post office the day I sent it off…I was there at 330pm and at 415pm, a car crashed into the post office. That was truly a close call! Anyway, I hope the package did actually get send out and is not buried in the rubbles here. 😀

  5. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Beth,

    Merry Christmas to you! Sorry for the delay. I’ve been rather busy (in the kitchen…) since Christmas 😉

    This was a great recipe – so easy and tasty. Will definitely make it again 😀

    Cheers!

  6. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Ita,

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas in Kuching. Are you back in Vancouver now?
    It’s been a long time since we met. Will you be back again (to KCH) soon…?

    Yep, try this recipe. My guys enjoyed the little bird as much as I had preparing them 😛

  7. Nasifriet says:

    Ha ha ha! I wish I have more time, though, but the figs got the better of me. Back to work on 30th…

    I wish you could give your diet an exception for once 😉
    My guys are carnivores so this dish will hit the table again when you make your trip here…. 😀 It will be a miracle to find a vegetarian substitute for this gamey little bird. LOL…

  8. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Chris!!

    Merry Christmas to you, Keith and Alex. Yes, I know the feeling of being drowned with all the workload, and mult-tasking… I’m having a short break but will be back to work again on the last work week of the year :-(.
    I did try to relax during the Christmas break which was great, esp getting in contact with my family back in KCH was marvelous 😀

    Oh, Santarina Chris. Thanks a lot! I’ll be on the look out for the package, but I guess the postman will deliver next week. Sorry to hear about the accident at your local post office. We had very strong winds recently. The worst was on the eve of Christmas. We could hear the rattling of our roof tops and the whizzing sound of the wind whistling down our chimney. The wind came back again this morning, but now it’s gone… so no white Christmas. Just wet, windy and cold Christmas…

    Will let you know when the package arrived 😀

  9. Wow, what a delicious dish! Looks especially good with the strips of bacon! I have never cooked a quail in my kitchen before, and cannot even remember if I have tasted one! Maybe I have, maybe not! My thinking cap is not working here!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  10. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Joyce, Merry Christmas to you !

    Not many people have eaten quails but the eggs are more popular. I started eating the little eggs first in steamboats or in some meals at the restos. It’s quite easy to get this gamey little bird in our local supermarkets. My boys love the idea of the bird being served whole. Looks pretty on the plate.😉

  11. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Chris, I just wanted you to know that the package arrived on Saturday morning. It was drizzling, hence the box was a little wet but everything was intake. THANKS !!!!! What a lovely surprise yet again 😄 . Makes me feel guilty already…..😬

  12. karen278 says:

    Another FABULOUS entry and recipe! Happy New Year, Karen

  13. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Karen!

    Best wishes for 2014!! Happy New year…

  14. BK says:

    Hi nasifriet,
    What a feast ! I love baked or roasted chicken/duck/turkey, but I never tried quails before. Unfortunately, hubby doesn’t like anything with head, tail or skin 😦 But yours look so mouth-watering.
    By the way, hope I am not too late in wishing you and your loved ones a fabulous new year ahead!

  15. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Miss B!

    Ha ha ha ! It’s a little bird, so really very harmless, but I know what you meant. Some people are put off by having the whole bird served on the plate . My boys are just the opposite. They love to have the whole bird to themselves : -D

    I do hope you had a great start to the New Year! We counted down with some friends and was home at around 2 am. Felt quite groggy but glad we spent reflecting prior year with good friends.

    I wish you and your lovely family all good wishes for 2014! Hope to catch up sometime 😉

  16. […] Baked Quails with Bacon Rashers in White Grapes Sauce – A Christmas Eve Special […]

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