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I was very spoilt in the dinner department last night – I was presented with my first quail. Funny little birds they are, as Dan prepped them up ready for roasting I couldn’t quite get my head around how it would taste. Although saying that, I imagined it to be a little similar to duck and chicken. I must admit that I’m not one for having bones on the plate, but the thought of trying something new provided its own excitement, regardless of how much of a fiddle it might be to eat.

To get them ready to roast he simply seasoned the meat with black pepper and then wrapped them up in pancetta. Nothing more to it than that. They then went in for around half an hour – resting for 15 minutes afterwards.

Meanwhile, he knocked up a very tasty ‘Wild Mushroom Risotto’ which came from Diane Seed’s book ‘The Top One Hundred Italian Rice Dishes’ (please see my previous post regarding this dish for the ingredients etc).

When they came out of the oven they were a pretty little sight to behold, all nicely browned and golden. I couldn’t help but think how cute they looked – not too cute to eat mind you. I was intrigued. They sat very nicely on top of a good helping of risotto and I was anxious to tuck in.

The taste itself was very similar to chicken, although extremely enhanced and very ‘gamey’. Dan was convinced that the thighs were the tastiest part, although the most meat can be found on the breast. In truth, he did finish mine off for me as I’m not a great ‘picker’ and we soon realised that fingers were the most effective tool for getting the most out of this bird.

We served ours with some freshly warmed herby focaccia bread. The ‘gaminess’ of the quail worked perfectly against the saltiness of the pancetta (which also gave a crispy texture) and the soft, earthiness of the mushrooms. All in all, the combination made for a very delicious meal – and a new taste experience to remember.

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