Braised Quail, Fennel & Tomatoes 番茄茴香根炖鹌鹑豆子

I am still into salad and grain bowls; but there is always more reasons to make soup, braise or stew (braise or stew - what's the difference?) in this cold weather. Nothing beats a warm and hearty pot of vegetables and beans, worth the effort just so for the extra comfort and satisfaction in the chilly nights.

Today, the extra effort goes to this pot of Braised Quail, Beans and Tomatoes. Frankly I was intimidated when I set my eyes on the pack of frozen quail in the store. Would it be too gamey? I have never handled quail in the kitchen. Not that I have not tried game meats such as quail, squab or bison, but I will order them in eateries/restaurants where they have been prepped by professional chefs.


Think of it as chicken and cook it as chicken. Does that even work? I do not know.

Some rules never change in my kitchen, that is to keep the cooking simple; yes, even when it comes to so-called exotic game meats. The first few thoughts that came to mind was making Chinese soup (just because I have tried Cantonese-Style slow-cooked quail soup before), roasting...maybe, or perhaps, braising.


SO...NOW... the quails were frozen so I threw away the idea of making soup as I am afraid that the gamey taste might be too over-powering for a water-based soup to withstand. Then quail being small and lean, roasting might render the meat too dry, so threw away another option. I am left with braising, which suits me fine.

Braised (slow-cooking with a large forgiving window) with aromatics and tomatoes ( I will let the aromatics take care of the "gamey-ness"), this one-pot of slow-cooked goodness should be giving me a delicious quail dish (with tender quail meat, of course). And it did.



Braised Quail with Fennel, Tomatoes, White Beans 番茄茴香根炖鹌鹑豆子
Ingredients:
4 quail,(thaw before use, also drain away the blood from the thawed quail, pat-dry), marinated with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, turmeric for at least 30 minutes.
1 onion, roughly chopped or sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped to bite-sizes
1 fennel, roughly chopped or sliced
1 can 14.oz organic tomatoes
1-2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 can white beans
Assorted dried herbs - I have used oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions; While waiting for quail to marinate, start cooking the aromatics-base of the braise. In a deep pot, Saute the onions till reduce in volume and slightly soft and translucent. Add carrot and half the fennel, saute. Add half can tomatoes, and half fresh tomatoes, half the garlic, then place the quail on top of mixture, then add remaining fennel, tomatoes (canned, and fresh), garlic. Few pinches of salt and black peppers. Simmer at medium heat for 30minutes or more till all the vegetables has reduced in volume and tomatoes are cooked to liquid. Add the white beans and allow the mixture to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Add fresh/dried herbs, and finally a little more salt and black pepper to taste.


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