This week on Healthy Appetite, Chef Gary O'Hanlon creates a healthy Quail Cordon Bleu.


Serves: 4

Leg & Thigh Confit: 

  • 4 quail legs and thighs 
  • 2 slices of orange 
  • 8 tbsp rock salt 
  • 8 star anise 
  • 20 g fresh tarragon, chopped 
  • 800 ml duck fat 
  • 8 cloves of garlic 
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce 

Cordon Bleu Quail Breast:

  • 4 quail breasts (skinless) 
  • 40 g Serrano ham or prosciutto 
  • 80 g gruyere cheese or white cheddar
  • 8 tbsp rapeseed oil 
  • 80 g Irish butter 
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Large sprig fresh thyme
  • Rapeseed oil

Coco de Paimpol: 

  • 4 tbsp coco de paimpol beans (if unavailable use butterbeans, blackeyed peas or dried cannellini  beans instead)
  • 800 ml chicken stock 
  • 8 bay leaves 
  • 8 sprigs thyme 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Pinch of salt 

For the Mornay:

  • 30 g butter
  • 30 g flour
  • 125 ml hot milk
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • Salt and white pepper


  • 12 roasted hazelnuts, crumbled
  • 8 – 10 shiso leaves
  • Truffle oil 



Begin with the Confit Legs and Thighs. 

  1. First, joint two whole quail into breasts, legs & thighs. Set the breasts aside.
  2. Coat the legs & thighs with rock salt, press the star anise up against the flesh and sprinkle all over with chopped fresh tarragon and two slices of orange. Leave to rest for 1 hour. 
  3. After 1 hour, pre-heat the oven to 120°C.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the duck fat to 150°C. Place the legs and thighs in an oven-proof dish and cover with the duck fat.
  5. Add 8 cloves of garlic (skinned but still whole) and place in the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until the meat is tender.
  6. When cooked, take the legs and thighs out of the fat, allow excess fat to drip off, before putting into a frying pan. Toss in 4 tablespoons soy sauce then use a blow torch to make the skin crispy. 

Next prepare the Cordon Bleu Quail Breasts. 

  1. Butterfly the quail breasts and season with salt and pepper. Cover the surface area of the opened breast with a slice of Serrano ham.
  2. Cut the cheese into small cubes and put one cube into the centre of each breast. Fold the breast over to reform, with the ham and cheese inside.
  3. Pass each quail breast through the flour, then the beaten eggs, then the panko crumbs. Heat 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil in a frying pan, place the breasts presentation side down in the pan and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until golden, then flip and cook on the other side for 1 – 2 minutes.
  4. Add the bay leaf, thyme and butter and continue to fry the breasts while basting continuously to keep the butter over the breasts until they’re golden in colour. Remove and leave to rest on a kitchen towel. 

Then prepare the Coco de Paimpol beans. 

  1. In a pot, cover the beans with the chicken stock, add all the other ingredients then bring to the boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes (if using beans other than Coco de Paimpol check the instructions on the packet and vary cooking method if needed). Drain and set aside, keeping warm. 

Finally, make the Mornay Sauce. 

  1. In a small pot on a medium heat, melt the butter before adding in salt and white pepper (to taste). Gradually add the flour, whisking constantly to make a thick paste.
  2. Next slowly add the hot milk, whisking vigorously until smooth. Leave to thicken on a low heat and then pass the sauce through a fine sieve. Stir in the grated parmesan and add more salt and pepper if needed. 
  3. Before serving, make a hazelnut crumb. Lightly toast 12 hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until fragrant and lightly browned. Grind them into crumbs, using a pestle and mortar.
  4. To serve, put 1 tablespoon Mornay sauce on each plate. Add one quail breast, cut in half, with one leg and thigh.
  5. Divide the coco de paimpol across the plates, add a few shiso leaves and a drizzle of truffle oil and finally, sprinkle with the roast hazelnut crumb.  

Nutritional information (per serving):
61 g
Sugar: 1 g
Fibre: 4 g