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George Farrugia’s Best Life recipe: Quail, pistachio stuffing, walnut and pomegranate

Great British Menu chef George Farrugia inherited a love for cooking from his Cypriot family. Manchester born and bred, he decided he wanted to be a chef aged 21 after studying Law at university.

After graduating, he gave up on law to pursue his real love and joined Room restaurant, Manchester, under Pete Taylor, before moving on to the capital.

George’s first job in London was working for legendary French chef Pierre Koffmann at his eponymous restaurant in The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. After this he worked for several years under Michelin-starred Eric Chavot at Brasserie Chavot where the restaurant won a star and then as Head Chef at Bob Bob Ricard.

During his tenure as Head Chef at Fenchurch Restaurant at Sky Garden, London, George appeared in the 2020 series of the BBC’s Great British Menu, confirming his reputation as one of the UK’s rising culinary stars.

He would describe his cooking style as British European, with predominately Mediterranean flavours.

George’s Best Life moments were when he met his wife-to-be Jessie and the birth of their daughter Andria.

QUAIL, PISTACHIO STUFFING, WALNUT & POMEGRANATE

INGREDIENTS

WALNUT and POMEGRANATE

Olive oil to cook

150g Walnut peeled/halves 150g

250g Banana shallots sliced (100g cooked)

1 Bay leaf        

4 Garlic cloves

70g Cherry tomato       

7g Ground cinnamon

7g Turmeric    

14g Pomegranate molasses

400ml Chicken stock     

Salt To taste

250g Pomegranate juice     

METHOD

Roast walnuts in oven, until golden. Then cool them and pulse until coarse texture/roughly chop.

Sweat sliced shallot in olive oil until sweet and golden, (not too hot a pan, you don’t want to fry them) then add chopped garlic, bay leaves, walnuts, for a few minutes.

Add spices and cook until raw spice taste has gone. Add brown chicken stock & reduce, needs to be reduced until thick. Add pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, and reduce until thick.

When needed reheat.

STUFFING

500g Pork shoulder minced

125g Lardo fat       

6g Fine salt     

3g Ground black pepper     

1g Aleppo pepper        

4g Fennel seed crushed        

50g Olive oil   

35g Fresh breadcrumbs        

1 Whole egg  

20g Chopped parsley  

100g Chicken livers       

Splash of Sherry vinegar      

20g White wine     

40g Peeled pistachio cut     

METHOD

Mix the pork shoulder, with wine and leave to marinade.

Dice the lardo, into strips and freeze, then dice and set aside.

Season and sear livers until medium rare, then deglaze with sherry vinegar, chill and chop.

Mix everything together gently, to not crush the texture; should be nice and coarse

QUAIL ASSEMBLY AND COOKING

1 Quail whole deboned        

Salt/ ground black pepper to taste

Drizzle Olive oil       

METHOD

For the quail if you’r e brave enough to debone yourself, go for it! If not, ask your butcher to do so.

Season the quail both sides with salt, pepper and drizzle olive oil.

Then roll a handful of the stuffing to an “egg” shape, as the thinnest part will be between the two breast fillets, and the bottom half near the legs of quail.

Gently fold over the skin on both sides and secure with a couple of toothpicks. Leave to set in fridge, minimum 2 hours.

Then sear outside in moderately hot pan with a little oil, nice and golden, then place in oven at 180c for 15-20 minute, or until the centre is warm to touch; you can check this with a small skewer/cake needle.

Then allow to rest somewhere warm, for around 15-20 minutes.

When ready to serve warm up in the oven.

TO SERVE

10g Pomegranate fresh seeds     

2g Chopped chives      

Few sprigs celery leaf    

Olive oil to drizzle

5g Finely diced shallot  

Roasted walnuts halves crushed sprinkle

METHOD

Mix together all the elements and dress, as salad.

Place warmed walnut sauce on base, top with sliced/whole quail. Then add salad dressing around and serve.

Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy
Employing her business skills, experience and love of writing all in one place.

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