It certainly is a good day in the Delta Quadrant when Seven of Nine is cooking for you. Having food cooked by Neelix is all very well and good, but I’m sure sometimes it’s good to have a change. In this case, we have a dish from a multi-plate feast prepared by Seven (Voyager: The Void). While the crew are solving various mysteries and then entering into various alliances during the rest of the episode, at least we know they had a delicious meal prior to these activities.
The recipe starts by brining the quail for 45 minutes-1 hour. You can skip this step but I think it really makes a difference in the juiciness and flavour of the quail. If you do skip the brining, you will probably need to add some salt to the truffle sauce or the roast vegetables to compensate.
Replicate your own
(Serves 2 or 3 as a main course or 6 as a starter)
You will need to start brining the quail about an hour before you want to cook them.
1 litre water - 500ml boiling, 500ml chilled or at room temperature
1/2 pumpkin, cut into rounds (or press out with a round cookie cutter)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 springs fresh thyme, for garnish
2-3 vol-au-vent cases (see notes, below)
Splash of olive oil
For the truffle sauce:
1-2 thin slices of truffle, chopped fine (about 5g)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Madeira
100ml chicken stock
Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F.
Begin by brining the quail: bring half the water (500ml) to the boil, and then in a glass or ceramic bowl large enough to hold all the quail, add the salt and the boiling water. Stir until the salt is dissolved, and then add the remaining water to cool the liquid down. The brine should be at room temperature or cooler before you add the quail.
Add the quail to the bowl and make sure they are completely covered - use a small plate to weigh them down if needed. Set the quail to one side while you prepare the vegetables.
Add a splash of olive oil to a roasting dish, and then add the pumpkin pieces, carrots (leave whole) and mushrooms. Sprinkle with the dried thyme and then turn the vegetables to coat them in the oil and thyme. Put the vegetables in the oven and roast them until they begin to soften (but are not completely soft), about 20-25 minutes.
Remove the quails from the brine and drain. They do not need to be completely dry but make sure you’ve removed most of the brine from the cavity. Arrange the quails on top of the roasting vegetables, and return the dish to the oven.
Cook the quail for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and cook for another 10 minutes on the other side.
If you have room in your oven, you could heat or cook your vol-au-vent cases while the quail are cooking. They also take about 20 minutes to cook.
While the quail are cooking, make your truffle sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the truffle pieces and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the madeira and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer on a medium temperature until the liquid has reduced by about half.
To serve, place the vol-au-vent in the middle of the plate. Place one quail in the vol-au-vent and the vegetables around it. Garnish the plate with 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, and spoon the truffle sauce over the top.
- If you don’t have fresh truffles, truffle oil can be substituted in the sauce
- Vol-au-vent cases can either be bought frozen from the supermarket, made from storebought puff pastry, of if you are feeling particularly adventurous, made from homemade puff pastry. Whichever option you choose, they generally need to be heated or cooked for about 20 minutes to allow them to properly puff.