Anjou quail with bacon popcorn

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Agnar Sverrisson delivers an ingenious Anjou quail recipe, served with both sweetcorn and popcorn. The dish is quite challenging but is a signature dish of Sverrisson's - so well worth the effort.

First published in 2015
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Bacon Popcorn

  • 100g of popcorn kernels
  • salt

Corn purée

  • 300g of sweetcorn, tinned
  • 150ml of water
  • 25ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt

Red wine essence

  • 2l red wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60g of sugar
  • pepper
  • 50ml of Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar

Red onion

  • 190g of red onion
  • 1 dash of Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper



  • Thermometer
  • Parchment paper
  • Catering grade cling film


Take 50g of trimmings from the smoked bacon. Place the trimmings in a pan with the oil and warm up to 65-70°C
Cook the bacon trimmings for 2-3 hours, then take off the heat and allow to cool at room temperature overnight. Once cool, pass through a sieve
Wrap the trimmed bacon in cling film and freeze until solid
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Remove the bacon from the freezer, cut into thin slices and place them in one layer only on a tray lined with baking parchment
Cook the bacon for 6-10 minutes until crispy and golden. Once cooked, chop into a fine power and sprinkle onto paper towels to remove excess fat
To prepare the quails, remove the wishbone and the legs from the body of the bird. Take the legs and cut about 1cm from the top of the drumsticks, scraping away the excess meat to expose the bone. Chop through the knuckle to leave nice, clean French-trimmed legs
Remove the thigh bone from each quail leg and the breasts from the bodies. Lightly season both the legs and breasts
Roll a piece of cling film out on a flat surface (make sure you use catering grade cling film), place a quail leg on it and sprinkle a few drops of olive oil on the exposed thigh where the bone was removed. Roll the leg in the cling film to make a firm sausage shape and tie at both ends. Repeat with each leg
  • olive oil
Preheat a water bath to 70°C and cook the quail legs for approximately 2 hours. Remove from the water and allow to cool. Place in the fridge and allow to set
While the quail legs are cooking, make the corn on the cob. Place each corn on a piece of cling film that has been rolled out on a work surface (make sure you use catering grade clingfilm). Season with salt and 1 tsp olive oil and roll it up in the cling film, tying both ends. Put in a pan of simmering water and cook for 30-40 minutes until soft and tender, then chill
  • 2 corn on the cob
  • salt
  • 25ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 150ml of water
Next, prepare the red wine essence. Put the wine in a pan and reduce for 30-40 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated. Thicken with the xanthan gum and season with salt, sugar, pepper and vinegar. Pass through a chinois (conical sieve) and chill
Next, prepare the red onion by peeling and cutting into wedges. Blanch in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Strain and place in a large bowl. Season with 140ml of the red wine essence, salt, pepper and the Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
  • 190g of red onion
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 dash of Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
Next, make the corn purée by putting all the ingredients in a blender and whizzing until a smooth purée forms. Pass through a sieve and set aside
  • 300g of sweetcorn, tinned
  • 150ml of water
  • 25ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt
Preheat the oven to 70°C
Chop the kernels off the corn on the cob and warm through in a pan with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice
Seal the quail legs and breasts in a hot pan until nicely coloured, then cook in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Rest in a warm area for 1-2 minutes before plating
Finally, to make the bacon popcorn, heat 1 tsp of the prepared bacon fat in a pan until warm, add the popcorn kernels and put the lid on. Once the kernels have popped, put in a large bowl, season with more bacon fat, the bacon powder and salt
  • 100g of popcorn kernels
Sweep a spoonful of corn purée in a circular motion around the centre of each plate, and spoon a large droplet to the side. Place a wedge of red onion in the centre
Plate three pieces of quail and a spoonful of corn on top of the onion. Sprinkle the plate with a few kernels of bacon popcorn and some red wine essence across the quail
First published in 2015

Agnar Sverrisson’s modern European food combines seasonal British ingredients with Icelandic specialities, serving rustic, Nordic-inflected plates that highlight textural contrast and clean, intense flavours.

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