“A good fresh and homemade stock is necessary for a good sauce.” That’s probably the thing I heard the most at Spermalie the last year. A stock of fish, of shrimps, of quail, of chicken, of veal of rabbit, we all learned how to make it. I wish I had enough space to store all these kinds of stock. Unfortunately, I don’t have a big freezer. Otherwise I would make liters of stock and freeze them. I would be the stock master of Ghent and make the best sauces you could imagine. However I don’t have that freezer, so I don’t make it a lot. A couple of weeks ago, though, I made quail stock. You all know this little bird (Dutch: Kwartel). They are so cute, so delicious and so easy to prepare.

My recipe for a pale stock of quail

What do you need? two leek stalks, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 10 black pepper balls,5 clove (kruidnagel), 6 quails, one celery stalk, 2 liter of water, salt, estragon, parsley, laurel.

What do you do? If the birds are not cleaned yet, clean them and remove the entrails (cf. picture 1). Melt a bit of butter in a pot and fry the birds on each side, until the birds are tanned (picture 2). Remove the flesh from the bones (how to?), return the carcasses to the pan. You can use the carcasses, the necks and wings for your stock. Use the quail breasts and legs for your dish.

Clean your vegetables. Fry the carcasses in a pan. Add the vegetables. Add waters, herbs and spices. Bring to the boil and let simmer for at least four hours. Strain the stock. Now, you can freeze what you don’t need immediately. Do not forget to label your frozen stock, in the freezer all stocks look alike. I once thought that my stock was a normal soup. (=Not my best idea ever).

Use a bit of your stock to make for example a delicious estragon sauce. An idea for a dish: Serve it with quail breast, nectarine, Brussels chicory and potatoes. Good luck!