Sucuk on its own can be overpowering so it’s great to pair it with something sweet. I found candied immature walnuts in the Egyptian Bazaar and thought it would be a great combination with the spicy sausage-stuffed quail. You can buy candied walnuts and figs in Middle Eastern grocers here, but if you want to make your own, you’ll need to start this recipe a couple of weeks ahead of time to give them time to shine.
- 6 jumbo quails, boned, wing bones and drumsticks left in
- 12 large vine leaves preserved in brine, rinsed and pat dried
- sunflower oil, for deep-frying
- drizzle of olive oil
- 100 g cured sucuk, cut into small dice (see Notes)
- 1 sprig rosemary, broken into 4
- 6 candied green walnuts, with syrup
- 6 candied figs, with syrup
- 500 g beef chuck steak, coarsely minced
- 125 g lamb tail fat, coarsely minced (see Notes)
- 2 small cloves garlic
- 25 g sweet paprika
- 7 g ground black pepper
- 7 g ground cumin
- 25 g table salt
- 2 tsp water
- 75 g par cooked baldo rice (see Note)
- 1 small sprig of rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 10 parsley stalks, leaves and stalks chopped
Candied green walnuts
- 35 whole green walnuts
- 1.5 kg caster sugar
- 1 litre water
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cloves
- 500 g glucose
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 kg dried white figs, soaked
- 1.5 kg caster sugar
- ½ lemon, seeded and finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
If making your own candied walnuts and figs, you will need to begin this recipe 2-3 weeks ahead.
Preheat the oven to 250°C
To make the sucuk filling, place the meat, garlic, spices and water in a bowl. Using clean hands combine well, then add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Divide the mixture into 6 portions.
Place the boned quails, skin-side down on a work surface and place the filling in the centre of each, then mould the quail around the filling. Place a vine leaf, vein-side up on work surface, place the quail on top and wrap up (similar to putting a nappy on a baby!). To help secure the filling and leaves, thread 1 skewer through the end of the legs to secure and another just underneath the wing bones. Place the quail, breast-side up on a lined baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan or deep-fryer three-quarters full of sunflower oil and heat to 170°C. Deep-fry the remaining vine leaves, in batches for 30-40 seconds or until crisp, then remove and drain on absorbent paper.
To serve, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped sucuk, rosemary and a drizzle of the oil from the resting quail and cook until golden and crisp. Add the candied walnuts and figs and a little of the syrup, then bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Remove the skewers from the quail, then place on a serving platter with the walnut, fig and sucuk mixture spooned over the top. Top with the deep-fried vine leaves and serve immediately.
To make the candied walnuts, using a skewer, prick each walnut all the way through. Place in saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Drain, then repeat the process, then drain again and place in a container and cover with cold water. Keep the walnuts refrigerated for 3 days, refreshing the water every 8 hours. After the walnuts have soaked for 3 days, place the sugar, water and spices in a wide, heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the liquid reaches the consistency of pouring cream. Carefully add the walnuts and glucose and return to the boil, then gently stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat.Transfer to a sterile jar and cover in syrup. Store in a cool dry place for 2 weeks before using.
To make the candied figs, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and stand overnight at room temperature. The following day, place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the syrup reaches the consistency of pouring cream. Transfer to a sterile jar, seal and stand for at least 2 weeks before using. The candied walnut and fig recipe will make far more than you need for this recipe, however they will keep in your pantry for at least 6 months.
• Baldo rice is a particularly starchy short-grain Turkish rice that is able to absorb a lot of liquid. If unavailable, substitute with Arborio rice.
• In Turkey, lamb’s tails are prized for their fat which melts at a lower temperature than the fat from other parts of the animal. This makes it perfect for cooking over charcoal as the fat renders in the same time it takes to cook the meat to perfection. In Australia, lamb’s tails are usually removed while still alive so the fat must be ordered from your butcher well ahead of time.
• Sucuk, pronounced sujuk, is a cured, heavily spiced Turkish beef sausage. Available from Middle Eastern food shops and select butchers.