Quail with oven roasted root vegetables

“Vegetarians! Stop eating my food’s food!”

Now that coming from my mouth does sound confusing – I am vegetarian. I do love cooking, so that doesn’t stop me from preparing meat for others. Although with time certain ethical morals start creeping in, but that would be a whole different story. Food is love, people who eat good food are happy, therefore I like to make people happy. That must be legitimate enough.  Another reason to cook meat – a month or so ago, when I was on vacation, I had a chance to visit one family of farmers who truly love food and home grown produce. They love to experiment, explore, cook and talk about it with such passion! They grow and raise almost everything one may think of on their land – all kinds of vegetables, chicken, quail, geese, turkeys and rabbits. Most probably I still missed something. We brought back home a lot of those absolutely amazing products and there I had quail!
We spent half a day on their farm, but I swear I could have stayed there for a week. We talked and talked and talked. Oh and tried everything they’ve made. It was a pity I couldn’t go exploring with my camera everywhere I wanted to – it was raining quite heavily. Nevertheless, a fantastic and enriching encounter with truly inspiring people.

It was almost by chance that they bought the farm and started to nourish it. Come to think of it – they used to be true city people – living in an apartment, hosting dinner parties, socializing and entertaining themselves with theaters, art, concerts and other benefits the city has to offer. But referring to the hostess – she had not been happier than where she is now.
Ingredients:
* 2 quails
* 4 Garlic cloves
* Fresh rosemary 
* Olive oil
* Thyme
* Salt’n’pepper
 
Side:
* Root vegetables – fresh beets, baby potatoes, radishes (add some carrots for sweeter taste
* 1 Garlic
* Rosemary
* Olive oil
* Salt’n’pepper
With the veggies it’s all clear and easy – cut, toss in a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Add fresh rosemary and unpeeled garlic cloves. Bake in the oven until done – with fresh out of the garden vegetables it took about 30 minutes in 180 degrees.
A bit more tricky (or at least for me as a first timer) was to cook quail perfectly, not overdoing it and cooking through just right. I must admit – didn’t get it right the first time, but with the second attempt it turned out perfect.
 
I chopped garlic with rosemary and thyme, added salt and olive oil, some pepper if desired and divided mixture for two birds to stuff inside and smear the outside. The bird is so delicate, I tried to make it into one little bundle, with hardly any pieces sticking out, so none would overcook while inside was still raw.
 
Pan fried with a drizzle of oil, all in all giving it 12-14 (10-11 minutes was a bit underdone) minutes on all sides, with a bit more time and attention on the breast. Judging from the happy faces of those eating the dish, it may be repeated :).
Bon appétit!

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