Quail in Pomegranate Sauce
There is no way to rush pomegranates, either in the growing or in the eating. Every fall, when the air and the leaves turn, ripe pomegranates finally arrive in the markets, in their own good time, as if to prove that nature still has the last word. This Majorcan dish with its tart pomegranate sauce is worth waiting for.
8 quail, rinsed
2 tbsp. lard or butter
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Leaves from 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cups Chicken Stock
Seeds of 5 pomegranates, about 4 cups (see
A Pomegranate Primer)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Pat quail dry with paper towels and tie legs together with kitchen string. Sauté in lard or butter and 2 tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned all over. Remove quail and set aside. Pour off fat.
2. In the same skillet, cook onions in remaining 1 tbsp. oil over low heat until soft, about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes and parsley; cook 3 minutes longer. Raise heat to medium-high, deglaze skillet with stock, and add all but a handful of pomegranate seeds. Reduce heat to low, return quail to skillet, cover, and cook till tender, about 15 minutes. Set quail aside; cover to keep warm.
3. Strain sauce, return to skillet, and reduce for about 30 minutes over medium-high heat, to about 1 cup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return quail to skillet, swirling them in sauce to heat them, 1–2 minutes. Serve garnished with remaining pomegranate seeds.