Recipe for Norfolk Quail, Beetroot, Pearl Barley & Watercress by Eric Snaith, Head Chef at Titchwell Manor in Norfolk.

Serves: 4 as a starter

“We are lucky in Norfolk to have a fantastic local quail producer called Norfolk Quail. Their birds are ethically farmed and the best tasting quail I’ve eaten.

“In this recipe we only use the breasts, but the legs are great also, try slowly braising them, chilling in the fridge and then pan frying for a great little snack.”

– Eric Snaith

For the Quail

  • 4x Quail crowns
  • 100g Unsalted butter
  • 1 Carrot chopped
  • 1 Stick of celery chopped
  • ½ Onion chopped
  • 1x Bay leaf
  • 1 Sprig of thyme and rosemary

For the beetroot

  • 2 medium size beetroot
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • Pinch of Maldon salt
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • zest of half an orange

For the pearl barley

  •  100g pearl barley
  • 400g beetroot juice

For the Quail

Add vegetables and herbs to a medium size saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and season to taste with salt, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Wash the quail under cold water then submerge in the simmering stock and cook for 2 minutes, remove and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Warm a frying pan on a medium heat, add a little vegetable oil and fry the quail on each breast, when coloured add butter a little at a time, while spooning the foaming butter over the birds. When the breasts are coloured remove from the pan and rest for 2-3 minutes. 

To serve remove the breasts and season with a little Maldon salt, the breast should be pink and firm to touch, if when you carve they are too rare, finish gently under a grill on a medium heat.

For the beetroot

To cook the beetroot create a parcel with tin foil, put all the ingredients in and seal the top by scrunching the foil together.

Put the parcel on a baking tray and cook at 180c for approximately 1 hour, test the beetroot by stabbing with a small knife, the knife should slide in easily. Peel the beetroot while they are warm. (If you have plastic gloves wear them for this job as the beetroot can dye your hands)

For the pearl barley

Combine pearl barley and 300g of juice in a pan and simmer for 45 minutes, adding extra juice if needed. The barley should be tender but still with some bite.