- Yield: 4 Servings
For the Beginning of the Lentil Stew
- 1 cup French green lentils Du Puy
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 celery stalk, cut in 4 chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, bruised
- 3 bacon slices, preferably applewood-smoked
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 curry leaves, optional
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Chunk of fresh ginger the size of a small walnut
- 2 star anise
- 1 small sprig of fresh thyme
- 4 cups (1 quart) Light Chicken Stock
For the Apples
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cognac
- ¼ medium orange peel (in 1 or 2 pieces)
- 2 Honey Crisp apples, peeled and scooped into approximately 10 balls each with a melon baller
For the Rest of the Stew
- 1 bacon slice, preferably applewood-smoked, chopped fine
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 3 heaping tablespoons fresh huckleberries, blackberries, or blueberries
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
How to Make It
To Begin the Lentil Stew
- Combine the lentils in a medium saucepan with the remaining stew ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, 20–25 minutes.
- Strain the lentils and cooking liquid into a bowl, removing and discarding the pieces of onion, celery, garlic, bacon, herbs, and spices. Cover and refrigerate until needed. To Prepare the Apples
- Make an ice bath.
- Stand a quart zipper-lock plastic bag up in a small high-sided bowl.
- Combine the oil, butter, sugar, lemon juice, cognac, and orange peel in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, cook it for 1 minute.
- Stir in the apples and cook for 2–3 more minutes, until the apple balls have softened slightly.
- our the apples and liquid into the plastic bag and zip shut. Place the closed bag in the ice bath and let cool until needed. To Continue the Stew
- Remove the lentil stew from the refrigerator and finish the preparation.
- Fry the chopped bacon in a medium saucepan until almost brown and crisp.
- Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, their cooking liquid, and the berries. Bring to a quick simmer and cook for about 3 minutes, just until the berries soften slightly. Season with salt and pepper. To Cook the Quail
- Season the quail with salt and pepper.
- Pour a good ¼ inch of oil into a large skillet and warm over medium heat.
- Sauté the quail about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown all over. The breast meat should still be somewhat rosy with the legs cooked through.
- Drain. Carve each quail into four pieces, first down through the breastbone and backbone to halve, and then between the wing and leg to quarter. Putting it all Together
- Spoon a mound of the lentil stew in the center of each of 4 plates. Place 4 quail parts leaning against each other over the lentils. Divide the apple balls among the plates. Garnish with herbs and serve.