Both quail and risotto are things that tend to intimidate home cooks, but they are actually both very simple. Risotto is extremely easy, albeit time consuming. And quail is just like chicken, with more flavor and a shorter cook time. This quail risotto is a delicious dish that is sure to impress guests. Not to mention risotto in general is a great thing to make these days with quarantine happening and all. Such an ultimate comfort food.
For this recipe I make my own quail stock. This is not difficult, but it does extend how long the dish takes. For that reason I tend to make the stock the day before and just let it rest in the fridge until time to cook. You can make the stock any way you like, but I use 3 raw quails, salt, pepper, a bulb of garlic cut in half, two bay leaves, and some dried oregano. Bring the pot up to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Don’t let the boiled quails go to waste. Use them in my quail salad, a great snack recipe.
Along with the quail stock, I do roast one quail to serve with the risotto. After roasting, as you can see in the main picture, I split the bird in half and serve it atop the rice shaped by a ring mold. The quail is the first thing I do since I just need to sear it on all sides, then I place it in the oven to roast with some butter for 20 minutes. While it is searing, I’m also sauteing some chopped yellow onion in the same pan. The onion is set aside when the quail is done and will go into the risotto at the end (optionally).
Once the quail is in the oven it is time to start on the risotto. This is time intensive so you’ll be at the pan for about 25-30 minutes. As the bird roasts for 20 minutes, ideally the rice is finished while the quail rests. Add a little olive oil to your pan on medium high heat, and then add in a cup of dry Arborio rice. This is the best rice for risotto in my opinion. I like to fry the rice a bit in the olive oil just for a minute or two.
For one cup of rice you will use three cups of chicken stock. I try to use three and a half cups, but it all depends on how low and slow you cook the rice to combat the evaporation. The trick is to only add about a third to a half a cup at a time, and continuously stirring.
The temperature should be around medium to medium low. Add a bit of quail stock and stir it around the pan. When it seems to have nearly all disappeared, add some more stock. Repeat until all of the stock is used up. This should take around 25-30 minutes.
Once the risotto is finished, add a couple tablespoons of cold butter and stir it around, letting it slowly melt into the rice. Then add a quarter cup of shredded cheese. I used Gran Padano as it’s one of my favorites for risotto, but you could use Parmigiano Reggiano or any salty hard cheese you prefer. Give the pan a good stir to incorporate all the cheese.
I like to serve risotto a bit fancier than normal. For this I use a ring mold. Place the mold on the plate and spoon in some of the risotto until the top. Then use the plunger to remove the mold. Take the quail split in half and place them artfully atop the rice cylinder. Garnish with some green onion and more shredded cheese.
- Baking Dish
- 2 Quails
- 1 cup Rice Arborio preferred
- 20 grams Cheese Gran Padano preferred
- 4 tbsp Butter 2 for roasting the quail, and 2 for finishing the risotto
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked
- 1 pinch Salt to taste
- 1/2 Yellow Onion chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Quails although you can do 3 if you only want to roast one quail and do 1/2 quails per serving.
- 4 cups Water 1 Liter
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tbsp Oregano dried
- 1 tsp Black Peppercorns
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1 bulb Garlic split in half horizontally
- In a pot add all the stock ingredients. Bring to a boil and let simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain and save in an airtight container until you are ready to make the quail risotto.
- In a pan on medium heat add some olive oil. Dry the quails with a paper towel, then salt and pepper the skin. Add the birds and the chopped onion (optionally) to the pan. Sear the birds on each side (about 30 seconds) then place the quails in a roasting dish with 2 tbsp of butter. Move the onions to a separate dish to the side. Place quail in an oven preheated to 175 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit. Set timer for 20 minutes.
- In a pan add some olive oil and put on medium low heat. Let the oil heat up a bit and then add a cup of Arborio rice. Fry the rice in the oil for just a minute or two.
- Turn the heat up to medium. Add the stock a half cup at a time. Let it fully absorb into the rice (and slightly evaporate) before adding some more stock. Stir the rice continuously, and do so until all the stock is fully absorbed. Once the stock is absorbed, add the reserved sauteed onion if you are using this ingredient. This should take around a half hour. The quail will be done before the risotto, just remove from the oven and set on the counter to rest.
- Add two tbsp of cold butter to the rice and stir it in letting it slowly melt into the dish. When the butter is melted add the grated cheese and stir that in.
- Plate. I use a ring mold to shape the risotto, and I split the quail in two and place the halves on top of the rice. Of course you can just put everything on a plate and be done with it.
- Garnish with extra grated cheese and some spring onion
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