Roast Quail Flambe with Fresh Peas

Serves 4

David has a fondess for quail.  Not only does it taste good, it was also a staple of his childhood with his mother serving it once a week.  It was a meal he always looked forward to particularly with the theatre of the flambe done with whiskey over the quail.  He and his brothers would dive in and eat the quails with their fingers, savouring each juicy morsel.

Ingredients

4 quail

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 golden shallots, peeled and finely diced

2 tablespoons whiskey

200 ml white wine

50 g butter

250 g bacon, finely sliced

1/2 brown onion, finely sliced

2 iceberg lettuce, washed and finely sliced

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1.5 kg fresh green peas, shelled

100 ml chicken stock

1 bouquet garni

2 teaspoons white sugar

Method

To prepare the peas, place a large saucepan over low heat and melt the butter. Add the bacon and onion and sauté until the onion is soft and the bacon has released its fat. Add the lettuce and spring onion, cover and cook slowly for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring the vegetables. Add the peas with the chicken stock, bouquet garni and white sugar. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes over low heat until the liquid is reduced by half.

To prepare the quail, place a large, ovenproof frypan or cast-iron casserole dish over medium heat and add the oil. Brown the quail all over — work on 2 minutes each for the breast, underside and the sides of the quail. Add the golden shallots and sauté for a few minutes. Heat the whiskey and wine in a small saucepan over low heat until just simmering. Light with a long-handled match or lighter and pour over the quail. Cover and transfer to the oven and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.

To serve, tip the pea and lettuce mixture into casserole dish and rearrange the quail to sit on top