cinnamon roast quail with smoked bacon lentils

The pancetta and the flavoured butter stuffing ensure these tasty mocels stay nice and moist'

Serves 4


For the quail

  • 4 oven-ready quail
  • 2 tbsp olive oil Good pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 25g/1oz butter, softened
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 slices of pancetta

For the lentils 1

  • 00g/4oz Puy lentils
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped carrot
  • 175ml/6fl oz chicken or beef stock
  • 1 tsp light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 100g/4oz smoked bacon lardons, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Place the quails in a non-metallic dish and rub with olive oil. Rub a little cinnamon into each quail then cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.

Rinse the lentils then place in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold water.

In a bowl mix together the butter, rosemary and onion and season. Stuff the quail cavities with this mix then wrap the crown of each bird in 2 slices of pancetta. Arrange in a small roasting tin and roast for 25- 30 minutes until cooked through and tender, with the top crisp.

Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over a low heat and add the cooked lentils. Add the chopped carrot and stock and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the lentils absorb almost all the stock. Add the sugar, balsamic and tomato purée, stirring well to combine, then keep warm over a low heat.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the lardons until golden then stir into the lentils with the parsley and season to taste. Spoon the lentils on to 4 warm plates and top with a quail.