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Quail with Frizzled Leeks in a Yellow Tomato and Turnip Cou-Cou Nest

Chef/owner Antoinette Oliphant,
La Table des Bonnes Soeurs

The creative presentation of this dish will wow guests. Cou-cou, which is Caribbean polenta, is formed into the shape of a hollow bowl. The leeks make the cou-cou look nest-like, and the baby quail is tucked inside.

5 quails
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup olive oil
1 bundle (approximately 16 oz) leeks, julienned

Pinch salt
Turnip and yellow tomato cou-cou nest
5 cups chicken broth, divided
1/2 medium turnip, cubed
3 yellow tomatoes, steamed and peeled
3/4 cup cornmeal

Saskatoon berry sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp saskatoon berry preserve
1/2 cup merlot
Juices from quail pan
1/4 cup water

1.   Wash and dry quail.
2.   Cut through chest bone of each quail and flatten.
3.   Season with salt and pepper.
4.   In a frying pan, at medium heat, melt butter. Fry quail for 5 minutes on each side.
5.   Remove quail from pan. Reserve juices in pan.

1.   In a frying pan, at medium heat, heat oil. Pan fry a 1/4 of leeks at a time until crispy.
2.   Salt leeks and set aside.

Turnip and yellow tomato cou-cou nest
1.   In a soup pot, at medium heat, add 4 cups of chicken broth. Add turnip and cook until soft. Ensure soup does not boil, but simmers only.
2.   Add tomatoes and cook until they can be easily mashed.
3.   Remove turnip and tomatoes from chicken stock. In a mixing bowl, mash turnip and tomato until they form a paste.
4.   In a saucepan, bring remaining 1 cup of chicken broth to a boil.
5.   Stirring constantly, add cornmeal. Add turnip and tomato paste. Cook until mixture has absorbed chicken broth, approximately 2 minutes.
6.   Shape cou-cou into five 5-inch balls. Shape balls into hollow nests. Set aside.

Saskatoon berry sauce
1.   In a saucepan, at low heat, melt butter. Add honey, saskatoon berry preserve, merlot, juice from quail pan and water, stirring constantly.
2.   Reduce liquid by half.

To serve
1.   Place cou-cou nests on plates. Arrange frizzled leeks around to look like a bird’s nest. Place quail on top. Drizzle liberally with saskatoon berry sauce.

Yield  5 servings

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