Risotto is one of those dishes that either blows you mind or leaves you cold. When well done it is pure joy: incredible soft texture, and more flavour than any other rice dish I know with so small an ingredient list. Even though rice is usually a side dish, here I think it steals the show, not that the quail was any bad, it was quite good actually, but the risotto just shines. Also, this risotto recipe gives a low cost and easy alternative to use stock to wet the rice. Without further ado:
- 3 cups of hot water
- ¼ cup of dried portobello
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 ½ cup of arborio rice
- ¼ cup of shredded parmigiano reggiano
In a bowl, pour the hot water over the dried portobello (other dried mushrooms work fine too) to re-hydrated them. Let the mushrooms steep for anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Take out the mushrooms out of the water and reserve. Add the salt to the water. In a medium saucepan over high heat, melt the butter and once it is bubbling add the rice. Let the rice cook in the butter until it is starts to brown, then ladle a nice portion of the mushroom juice. Stir continuously, preferably with a wooden spoon, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, then add another ladle of mushroom juice. Repeat ladling the juice until the rice appears cook, test the rice from time to time. The rice should not fall apart completely, it should still retain a tiny bite to it. Once it has reached proper texture, remove from heat and add fold in the parmigiano.
The quail was mostly stolen from an Epicurious recipe. The original recipe was asking for a butter sauce I really didn’t feel like, so here is what I did:
- 6 partly deboned quails
- 8 allspice
- 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper
- 12 peppercorns
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- Wedges of lemon
In a mortar I put the allspice, peppercorns, salt and cayenne and pounded until a coarse powder, add the thyme leaves. After removing the backbone and thoracic cage of the quails I rubbed them with the spice mixture and reserved in the fridge for half an hour. Once you have finished that risotto, place one of the grill of you oven in the upper parts, where the quail will be approximately 2-3” of the element, start your oven on broil and let it heat up for at least 5 minutes. On a grill, place the quails upside down and place in the oven. Cook for 4-8 minutes depending on your oven, when the quail starts to char in a few place, turn over the quail and return to the broil for same amount of time.
Serve on the risotto and squeeze a wedge of lemon on the quail.
Tunes: Cerberus Shoal are one of the leading improv rock-ensemble I know. They go to so many avenues to create their music that from one album to the other everything is entirely different. Not only does that keep things interesting whenever you buy an album it also lead to massive consumption of their important discography, much to my wallet’s desperation. I recommend Chaiming the Knoblessone because it works so well with this dish, melodic and challenging much like the spice of the quail and the buttery goodness the risotto marry.