A flavoursome main course.


  • 300 g puy lentils
  • 8 floury potatoes
  • 50 g pancetta
  • a small celeriac chopped into chunks
  • 2 tblsp chopped rosemary
  • a small onion (finely chopped)
  • large knob of butter
  • 1 carrot diced
  • milk
  • 1 rib celery (diced)
  • salt pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
  • 900 ml chicken stock
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • oven ready quail (2 per person)
  • honey
  • butter
  • fresh breadcrumbs
  • a handful of blond raisins (soaked in warm water)
  • 2 tblsp sage (finely chopped)
  • salt flakes


  • Heat some olive oil in a pot to which you have a lid, cast iron if you have one.
  • Add the carrot, celery and onion and soften without colouring.
  • Add the pancetta, rosemary and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the lentils and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Cover the lentils well with the stock, bring to the boil, cover with the lid and place in a preheated oven at 160°C for about an hour.
  • When the lentils are nice and tender, add a good splash of extra virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Season well.
  • While all the lentils are braising in the oven prepare the mash.
  • Peel and steam the spuds, and boil the chunks of celeriac. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • When all are cooked, heat up a splash of milk and the butter in a pan.
  • Add the spuds and celeriac a few pieces at a time and mash well. Keep on adding until you have reached the desired consistency. Season and keep warm.
  • Prepare the stuffing by softening the onion in some butter, adding the sage, raisins and breadcrumbs and cook until you have a nice moist stuffing.
  • Place a good amount of stuffing in the cavity of the birds, and truss up with a cocktail stick. Gently heat the honey and mix in some butter so that it becomes runny and easy to spread.
  • Give each bird a good coating of honey and sprinkle the salt flakes on the crowns. Roast in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 12 minutes.
  • Arrange the mash off-centre on 4 plates, spooning some lentils around the inside of the plate. Place 2 quail over the lentils, leaning on the side of the mash. Serve with finger bowls.

More by Kevin Murphy:

Find recipes by keyword:

family dinners irish heat mains entertaining light meals and snacks