Roasted quail with roasting tin gravy

by Angela Clutton

Angela Clutton shares a recipe that highlights the creativity and deliciousness to be found in making gravy from the roasting tin

There’s much creativity—and deliciousness—to be found for the cook in just the basic idea of making a gravy from the bits the bird leaves behind in the roasting tin: deciding what to add to the gravy for extra flavour, how thick you want it to be. The same applies to any kind of roasting joint (or cuts of meat cooked in a pan on the stove). Master the gravy basics and you are set for sauces that are born of the juice of the meat you are cooking and therefore perfectly balanced to enhance its flavour.

Some wilted greens make the perfect accompaniment to this.

For more on roasting tin and frying pan sauces, read Angela’s latest blog


For the quails:
8 quails
Zest of 1 orange
50ml red wine vinegar
15 sprigs of thyme
50ml olive oil
100ml white wine, amontillado sherry or vermouth

For the gravy:
120ml white wine, amontillado sherry, or vermouth
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml chicken stock
A knob of butter (optional)


Pat dry and season the quail. Mix together the orange zest and red wine vinegar. Pour over the quail, scatter over the thyme sprigs, cover, and set aside to rest for a few hours or overnight. Put into the fridge if leaving overnight but be sure to return the birds to room temperature before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat the oil in a roasting tin over a high heat and quickly sear the quails until nicely browned all over. Sit the birds in the tin, pour over the wine or sherry, crumble over salt flakes and roast for 15-20 mins, depending how pink or not you want the meat. Lift the quails and thyme sprigs out of the tin and set aside to rest, covered.

To make the gravy, put the roasting tin over a medium heat, pour in the wine or alternative, let it bubble and then whisk in the flour. As you whisk, incorporate all the sticky bits on the base of the tin. Let the wine simmer for 3 mins to reduce, then add the stock and simmer for approx 5 mins to reduce. Taste and season as needed. Whisk in the knob of butter if you want a slightly richer gravy.

Serve the quails with the gravy poured over.

Recipe: Angela Clutton
Image: Kim Lightbody