Smoked quail

John Torodes quail is smoked over cinnamon, orange and tea, it comes served with a cauliflower salad and a rich port dressing
By John Torode
Smoked quail
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: hard


For the quail:

  • 2 quail, spatchcocked, you can ask your butcher to do this
  • 6 tbsp rice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 orange, rind only
  • 4 tea bags
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 star anise

For the port dressing:

  • 250 ml red wine
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 250 ml port
  • 4 spring onions, white ends chopped

For the cauliflower salad:

  • 1 oak leaf lettuce, leaves picked
  • 2 florets of cauliflower, shaved into thin slices with a mandolin
  • 4 spring onions, sliced at an angle
  • 4 pickled walnuts, finely sliced
  • 2 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
  • 30 g walnuts, finely chopped

Tips and Suggestions

If you want to spatchcock the quail yourself, heres a video to show you how.


1. For smoking the quail: Line a wok with foil and add the rice, brown sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, orange rind, tea bags and a pinch of salt. Heat over a medium heat for a few minutes until you see it starting to smoke. Place the two quails on a circular wire rack and place inside the wok. Put the lid on and smoke for 5 minutes.

2. Add the butter and star anise into a hot pan then place the quail skin down and season with pepper. Add the remaining cinnamon stick and cook for a few minutes or until the skin has browned. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

3. For the port sauce: Wipe the quail pan clean then add the red wine, shallots and port. Cook over a medium heat and allow the liquid to reduce down for about 8-10 minutes. Add the whites of 4 spring onions and cook for 2 3 minutes. Strain into a bowl and set aside.

4. For the salad: Add the oak leaf lettuce into the bottom of a large bowl. Layer the cauliflower on top, followed by the spring onions and pickled walnuts. Add the quail to the bowl then sprinkle with the thyme and walnuts.

5. Mix the port dressing with the resting juices and drizzle over the quail.

See more John Torode recipes.

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