Quail pastilla

Quail pastilla

Ben's Meat Bible
Benito Martin


Quantity Ingredient
1 bunch coriander leaves and root
3 garlic cloves
freshly ground black pepper
10 shallots, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 quails, butterflied (split in half down the backbone)
5 eggs, beaten
30g chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, zest grated
80g toasted almonds
80g toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus extra to dust
2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra to dust
250g clarified butter or salted butter, melted
8 sheets filo pastry


  1. Pick the coriander leaves, chop and set aside. Rinse the stalks and root under cold water thoroughly, then roughly chop and place them in a food processor or mortar and pestle, along with the garlic and a pinch of salt. Blend or pound into a paste and add the shallots, ginger, cumin and turmeric.
  2. In a roasting tin, combine the split quails with the shallot–spice mixture and enough water to just cover the quails. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. Remove the quails from the refrigerator, cover with aluminium foil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until they are just cooked but still a little pink. Remove and allow to cool. There should be about 250 ml liquid in the tin. If not, add enough water to top up. Once the quails have cooled, pick through and remove any bones. Roughly chop the meat and return it to the roasting tin.
  5. Place the roasting tin on the stove top over low–medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beaten eggs and slowly heat until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped coriander leaves, parsley and lemon zest. The mixture should be quite thick and not at all watery.
  6. Blend the toasted nuts together in a food processor, then combine with the cinnamon and icing sugar and set aside.
  7. Brush a 25 cm casserole dish or shallow cake tin with clarified butter. Lay 1 sheet of filo in the dish, making sure there is plenty of overhang, then brush with more butter and lay another sheet of filo on top. Continue with 2 more sheets of filo, ensuring that all of the dish is covered. Butter the fourth sheet of filo, then sprinkle with the nut mixture. Continue layering and buttering filo until the remaining 4 sheets have been used.
  8. Tip the quail filling into the pan and fold back the overhanging pastry, pressing down to seal. Brush the top with more butter and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate and dusting with icing sugar and cinnamon. This is excellent served with a leaf salad dressed with pomegranate molasses.
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