ORTYKIA ME KOUKIA – ορτυκια με κουκια
Quail appear in many varied dishes all over Greece, from the preserved quail so revered in the Mani to the quail-stuffed bread, also from the southern Peloponnesos. From the eastern Aegean, we find another unusual quail dish, in which the tiny birds are stuffed into eggplants (the recipe is included in my first book, The Food and Wine of Greece). This recipe comes from a cluster of tiny Ionian islands called Othoni.
- 1/2 quail
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 5 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled, or 2 pounds
- frozen shelled fava beans, defrosted
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 bunch fresh dill, snipped
- Sugar to taste (see Note)
1. Clean the quail if necessary: Chop off and discard the necks and pluck off any remaining feathers. Season with a little salt.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium-high heat and cook the quail, in batches if necessary, until browned lightly on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and toss together with the birds. Add the fresh fava beans and season with a little more salt and pepper. Add the wine and enough water to barely cover the birds. Cover and simmer over mediumlow
heat until the beans are very tender and the flesh is almost falling off the quail, 45 to 50 minutes. If using frozen fava beans, add them later: Simmer the quail with the garlic, wine, and water for 35 minutes, then add the defrosted favas and continue cooking until both the birds and favas are tender. About 15 minutes before removing from the heat, add the dill to the pot.
Fava beans can sometimes be bitter. Taste the pan juices and adjust the seasoning by adding a little sugar if necessary.