Four winter game recipes, from baked duck to venison fillet

State bird with provisions

by Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski with JJ Goode

For: 6
Duration: 1h25 plus at least 12h of marinade and 4h of refrigeration

120g roasted pumpkin seeds
120g coarsely dried breadcrumbs
130g plain flour
190g potato starch
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
3 tablespoons black chili powder or chilli powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
185 g unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1 strip of Meyer lemon zest (about 8 cm x 3 cm), white skin removed
1 sprig of rosemary
4 large Vidalia or yellow onions, cut into ¼ inch half moons
2 tablespoons of salt
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
120ml plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
rice bran oil, vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying
70g of parmesan
2 tsp finely chopped chives

For the marinated quail
240 ml buttermilk well stirred
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 x 110-140g semi-boned quail, halved lengthwise and patted dry


1. To make marinade, combine buttermilk, garlic, lemon zest, ¼ tsp. black pepper and ¼ tsp. salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the quail and toss gently to coat, then cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or up to 36 hours.

2. Pulse the pumpkin seeds and breadcrumbs in a food processor until well blended and the seeds are broken into about ¼-inch pieces. Pour into a large mixing bowl with the flour, potato starch, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and 1 tbsp salt. Mix well.

3. One at a time, remove half the quail from the marinade, add to the breading mixture and toss to coat well. Arrange the quail pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet or large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, or up to 12 hours.

4. Melt the butter in a 3.5 to 5.5 liter casserole over medium heat. Roll out a large piece of cheesecloth and put the lemon zest and rosemary in it. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth, twist and tie a knot to make a sachet. Add to melted butter.

5. Add the onions to the pan and cook – stirring occasionally and lowering the heat if necessary to prevent them from browning – until softened, about 15-20 minutes.

6. Stir in the salt and sugar, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 10-15 minutes. seven. Stir in lemon juice and continue cooking until onions are almost melted, about 25 minutes. Cover and keep warm over very low heat. (If you’re not frying the quail immediately, let the onions cool, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days. Reheat very gently before serving.)

8. To finish the dish, pour 7.5 cm of oil into a large heavy pot over high heat. Bring to a temperature of 170C. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.

9. Fry quail in two batches to avoid crowding, turning occasionally, until brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per batch. Once fried, transfer to the prepared grill and immediately season lightly with salt. Cut each quail half in half, if desired, to separate the thigh from the breast.

11. Place the onions in a large dish and garnish with the quail. Using a vegetable peeler, slice thin and wide slices of Parmesan over the quail, then sprinkle with chives and season with black pepper. Serve immediately.

From the state bird provisions: A cookbook by Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski with JJ Goode (£30, ten-speed press)

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