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.