Quail with barley, butternut puree and watercress

Preparation time : 6 hours or overnight Cooking time : 1 hour Servings : 4
  • For the quail:
  • 250 ml apricot chutney
  • 4 sprig thyme
  • 4 sprig rosemary - chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • 50 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 5 ml coriander spice
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 4 birds - preferably deboned
  • For the barley:
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • 300 g pearl barley
  • 400 g tomatoes - peeled and chopped
  • 1 l chicken stock
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 2 sprig rosemary finely chopped
  • 10 g fresh coriander - finely chopped
  • For the butternut puree:
  • 5 g ground nutmeg
  • 5 g ground ginger
  • 10 g curry powder
  • 5 g peri-peri
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 20 g brown sugar
  • 2½ kg cubed butternut
  • 20 g garlic - finely chopped
  • 210 g onion - finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 250 ml vegetable stock or hot water
  • 100 ml cream
  • salt

First make the marinade.


Mix all the ingredients together and rub the quails generously with it.


Place the quails in an airtight container in the fridge and let them marinate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.


Remove the container from the fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking.


Roast the birds whole in a pre-heated oven for 10 mins at 240°C.


Reduce the heat to 180°C and roast the birds for a further 5 mins.


Remove and allow to rest for 10 mins out of the oven before serving.


To make the barley, fry the onion and garlic in a pan, and cook for about 4 minutes.


Add the pearl barley and stir well.


Add the chopped tomatoes and the chicken stock.


Bring everything to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for roughly 30 mins, stirring occasionally.


Once the liquid has been absorbed and the pearl barley is soft and tender, it is ready.


For a creamier final product, stir in some cream or extra stock.


Season with salt and pepper and stir in the rosemary and coriander just before serving.


To serve, place a few spoonfuls of puree on the plate first, then scoop barley on top, followed by the watercress and then the quail.

Lastly, to make the butternut puree, mix all the spices and sugar in a bowl.


Toss the butternut in the spices and place in a casserole dish or oven tray.


Dot the butternut evenly with the pieces of butter and roast in the oven covered in foil at 180°C for 30 mins.


Remove the foil for the last 10 mins to brown the butternut slightly.


In a deep pot, fry the garlic and onions in the butter until soft and translucent.


Place the roasted butternut in the pot and mix with the fried onions.


Pour the vegetable stock into the pot with the vegetables and simmer for a few mins.


Blend the vegetables and stock with a hand blender until all chunks have been pureed.


Taking care not to splash yourself.


Add the cream bit by bit as you blend further.


You want the puree to remain relatively thick, not watery.


Season with salt. If the puree is too thick, add more stock and blend further.

Recipe extract from My Food, My Journey by Lesego Semenya.

Lesego Semenya