Tea Smoked Quail, Pork Jowl, Seeds, Sweet Corn and Jamon Iberico

With access to some of the world’s highest quality ingredients and fresh produce and the creative inspiration of the Great Barrier Reef, it environs and climate, Hamilton Island offers an elegant variety of dining experiences. In the August 2012 edition of Reef Magazine, Hamilton Island’s new Executive Chefs share their current favourite creations.

qualia – Executive Chef, Alastair Waddell

Alastair Waddell Chef qualia

Alastair Waddell - Executive Chef qualia

Tea Smoked Quail, Pork Jowl, Seeds, Sweet Corn and Jamon Iberico

You’ll need to start this recipe two days ahead of serving and there are several, distinct components to this dish. But the end result is one that will totally tantalise the taste buds of all your dinner guests. As for the ingredients, pork jowl is a fatty cut of pork from beneath the cheek and should be available from your butcher. If not, it is easily substituted with pork belly and cooked the same way. You may also choose to substitute Jamon Iberico, the delicious Spanish ham, with parma ham or prosciutto. Other possible ingredient alternatives are listed in the recipe below. You will need the following equipment: a deep tray and roasting rack for smoking, and a food processor. Also, if you have both a Vacpac machine and thermal circulator you can use these for the quail and the pork jowl. However, for those who don’t, easy alternative cooking methods are also provided below.

Opens PDF in new window Download the recipe here or see below

qualia- Executive Chef, Alistair Waddell's Tea Smoked Quail, Pork Jowl, Seeds, Swet Corn and Jamon Iberico.

qualia Executive Chef, Alistair Waddell's Tea Smoked Quail, Pork Jowl, Seeds, Swet Corn and Jamon Iberico. Photographer:Julian Kingma

Ingredients (for six people)

Six (6) jumbo quails
100g Earl Grey tea leaves
100g brown sugar
100g jasmine rice

Pork Jowl
Two (2) pork jowls
Two (2) cobs of sweet corn
100g linseeds
100g sunflower seeds
100g pepitas
100g buckwheat kernels
20g poppy seeds
One (1) sprig of fresh thyme
One (1) sprig fresh Tarragon,
8 whole peppercorns

Jamon Crumb
80g Jamon Iberico
180g brioche crumbs
3 additional sprigs of thyme

Sweet Corn Puree
2 additional cobs sweet corn
400ml chicken stock
25g butter
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
25g crème fraiche

Jamon Jelly
500ml jamon consommé (or 500ml
good quality ham stock from a specialty foods supplier)
6g agar agar (or 6g gelatin may be used)


Begin Pork Jowl preparation two days ahead.

1. Pork Jowl
Place the pork jowl in a brine solution consisting of 10% salt to water, plus some thyme, tarragon and peppercorns, for three hours. Wash jowl. If you have a Vacpac, vacuum pac on full pressure. Place in a water bath at 85C for 13 hours. Alternatively, braise slowly in chicken stock for six hours in a 140C in the oven. Once cooked, leave the pork jowl refrigerated until ready to be used.

Start the rest of the prep on the actual day you wish to serve the dish.

2. Quails.
Prepare quails – keep necks and wings for sauce. Combine the tea, sugar and rice. Place in a smoking tray over a high heat. Reduce heat and add quails. Smoke gently for four minutes. Remove legs. If you have a Vacpac, then vacuum pac the quail with 50g duck fat and thyme. Place in a water bath at 85C for two hours. Alternatively, cover with duck fat and confit slowly on a low heat for one hour.
3. Sweet Corn Puree
Sweat the shallot and garlic in butter. Add chicken stock and simmer until tender. Add crème fraiche and blitz at high speed in a blender until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve.
4. Jamon Crumb
Sweat finely chopped shallot, add finely diced jamon. Cook out fat. Add brioche crumbs and toast gently. Add picked thyme and season.

5. Seeds
Heat butter until it begins to foam. Add buckwheat kernels and toast. Add the seeds and toast until golden. Drain on paper towel.

6. Jamon Jelly
Bring the jamon consommé to the boil, add the agar agar (or gelatin) and simmer while whisking for two minutes. Pour very thinly onto a flat tray. When set, cut into ribbons.

To Serve

See image above. Neatly spoon sweet corn puree around plate, sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place down two piles of seeds and two piles of jamon crumb. Place quail breast and pork jowl neatly on top. Cut a strip of jamon jelly and place around the meat. You may wish to pick some nice micro herbs, such as mache (also called lamb’s lettuce), to garnish if desired.

Robert Oatley Vineyards Pinot NoirWine Match

Robert Oatley Signature Series Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2010
This new release Pinot from Bob Oatley is an ideal partner for the smoky, slightly savoury yet delicate notes of this superb dish. Ask any wine advisor and they’ll tell you that game foods are an ideal match for Pinot Noir but the reality is that pairing the two is more complex – this is an excellent case in point. It is a lightweight dish with delicate flavours so needs a softer, gentler style of Pinot. Awarded 92 points by James Halliday and winning fans right round the nation.

Recipe: Alistair Waddell – Executive Chef – qualia
Compiled By: Stephen Cook and Darren Jahn
Styling: Nicky Tindill

The Above Article was originally published in the August 2012 Edition of REEF Magazine