Seared Quail with Leeks and Star Anise


  • 6 fresh quail, weighing about 6 ounces each
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5-spice powder
  • 6 star anise
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup medium dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil


  1. Mix together in a small bowl the 5-spice powder, star anise, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, garlic, coriander, sesame oil, pepper and orange juice to make a marinade. Let the flavors blend for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  2. Clean the leeks by removing the stem end and the green tops. Cut them into 1/2 inch rounds and soak them in warm water until the dirt is removed. Drain and reserve.
  3. Marinate the quail in half the marinade for about 30 minutes, and drain.
  4. Blanch the leeks in boiling salted water for one minute. Drain and rinse in cold water. Reserve.
  5. Whisk the olive oil into the remaining marinade.
  6. Heat one or two saute pans large enough to hold the quail with 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil until hot. Add the quail, cooking over moderate heat until brown on one side. Turn over the birds and continue cooking until done (about three minutes on each side.) Remove the quail from the pan and keep in a warm place until ready to serve.
  7. Add the leeks to the pan and saute for a few minutes until soft.
  8. To serve: On each of the six plates, spoon some of the sauteed leeks. Place a quail on each plate and drizzle a few spoonfuls of the marinade over them. Serve with a seasonal green salad.

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