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Quail With Fresh Thyme and Puy Lentils

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Quail With Fresh Thyme  and Puy Lentils

Quail is a special treat, but you could substitute poussin in its place. If you do, you will need to double the stuffing quantity. Puy lentils are just divine and I have added pan-fried chopped mushrooms to intensify the mushroom flavours from the stuffing. The centre of France is the home of puy lentils. Their deep marbled colour is a result of the volcanic soil in the area. They're simple delicious!


  • 4 quail
  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, peeled and mashed to a paste
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 2 dried morel mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 slices white bread, crumbed finely
  • 4 rashers bacon
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 25 grams extra softened butter

Puy lentils

  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup puy lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • knob butter
  • 250 grams mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock


  1. Wash the quail well and pat dry with absorbent paper.
  2. Cook the shallots and garlic in the butter until soft. Cool. Soak the morels with the chicken stock and set aside for 1 hour. Drain, reserving the stock and finely chopping the morels. Blend the mushrooms with the shallots, breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Stuff the quail with equal quantities of the mixture.
  4. Wrap the birds with the bacon and thyme and secure with string. Dot with the extra butter and season with pepper.
  5. Roast at 200°C for 30 minutes until tender. Serve the birds on Puy lentils (see separate recipe on my website).

Puy lentils

  1. Make a cut in the onion, but not all the way through. Place the ba leaf into the cut and secure with the cloves.
  2. Cook the Puy lentils in the water with the studded onion for 25 minutes until tender. Drain off the excess water and discard the onion.
  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms over a high heat until they are well browned.

Cooks Tips

- If you can't find morels, use dried shitake or a large, flat mushroom finely chopped.

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