Paperbark quail with mountain pepper

Paperbark quail with mountain pepper

I’ve revisited the paperbark method of cooking here, this time steaming up some juicy little quails with a couple of vegetables. I previously bought a roll of paperbark and used it to cook a whole barramundi, so rather than schlep all the way back to the Essential Ingredient to get more paperbark, I helped myself to one of the many melaleuca trees in my neighbourhood. The trees naturally shed their papery bark, so if you’re a bit of a tree-hugger, there’s no need to get flustered with me peeling a few layers off myself.

Cooking food in paperbark not only retains moisture, but it imparts a subtle smokiness to the food. I grabbed some pre-shelled fresh peas from my grocer, which I stuffed into the cavity of each quail. I also grabbed a bunch of baby carrots and nestled them in with the quails, keeping the feathery leaves to surround the quails so they don’t stick to the paperbark during cooking. You don’t eat the leaves when they’re cooked, unless you really want to.

To enhance the flavours of the little birds, I spiked some butter with finely chopped bush tomato and mountain pepper and rubbed it between the skin and breast. As it cooks, it melts and keeps the meat moist and tasty. I used dried and finely crushed mountain pepper leaves for their subtle yet earthy pepperiness. The bush tomatoes add a slight sweetness and bitterness, almost like regular sun-dried tomatoes.

Paperbark quail with mountain pepper & bush tomato recipe

Paperbark quail with mountain pepper & bush tomato recipe

Paperbark quail with mountain pepper & bush tomato recipe

Paperbark quail with mountain pepper & bush tomato recipe

 

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Paperbark quail with mountain pepper
Get some Aussie flavours into these parcels of paperbark quail.
Paperbark quail with mountain pepper & bush tomato recipe
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Paperbark quail with mountain pepper & bush tomato recipe
Instructions
  1. Using your finger, gently separate the skin from the breast on each quail. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter onto a small plate, top it with the salt, mountain pepper and bush tomato. Mash with a fork to combine. Take the butter mixture and spread it over the quail breasts beneath the skin.
  3. Preheat the barbecue on a low flame.
  4. Tie the legs of each quail with natural twine, then fill the cavity with the fresh peas. Lay the drained and dried paperbark onto a work surface. Cut the tops off the carrots and lay half of the leaves along the centre of the paperbark. Place the carrots on top, then arrange the quails over the top again. Drizzle the quails with the oil and generously season with salt, black pepper, bush tomato and mountain pepper. Lay the remaining carrot leaves on top, then bundle the paperbark tightly around the quails. Tie with twine, making sure the ends are tucked in and the parcel is fully enclosed.
  5. Drizzle a little water over both sides of the parcel then lay it on the preheated barbecue plate. Put the lid down and cook on one side for 25 minutes, then turn and cook for another 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
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