Roasted quail with brioche and chorizo stuffing
- For the quail and stuffing
- 175g cubed brioche, cut into 2.5-cm cubes
- 3 to 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 110g Spanish-style chorizo sausage, finely diced
- 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 to 8 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 3 dried apricots, chopped
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1.5 tsp salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 250ml homemade brown chicken stock, or tin reduced salt chicken stock (see Cook's Note)
- 8 whole quail
- For the sauce
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 65ml red wine
- 250ml demi-glace or reduced brown chicken stock
- 6 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp dried currants
- 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- Wilted greens, optional, recipe follows
- For the wilted greens
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 450g Swiss chard, stems diced, leaves coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Spread the brioche cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, heat 2 tbs of the olive oil in a medium skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, garlic, onion, sage and apricots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool slightly.
3) Add the brioche cubes to the vegetables and toss. Add the egg, salt, pepper, and enough of the chicken stock to moisten the bread, and toss.
4) Season the quail inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff each quail loosely with the brioche mixture and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Put the remaining stuffing into a lightly buttered casserole dish. (The recipe may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.) Bake the stuffing until browned on top, about 30 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the remaining olive oil in an ovenproof medium skillet over a high heat. Add half the quail and cook, turning as each side turns a rich mahogany brown, about 8 minutes in all. Transfer to a low roasting pan or casserole dish just large enough to hold the quail. Repeat with the remaining quail, adding more olive oil if necessary. Reserve the skillet and drippings.
6) Transfer the quail to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the cavity reads 68C, about 20 minutes.
For the sauce:
1) Add the shallot to the reserved drippings in the skillet over a medium heat and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer until reduced by about half, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits. Add the demi-glace or chicken stock, the apricots and currants. Simmer until fruit is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
2) Transfer the quail to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Whisk the butter into the sauce a bit at a time until the sauce is glossy and coats the back of a spoon. (If necessary, gently reheat the sauce before whisking in the butter off the heat.)
3) To serve, spoon some of the stuffing into the centres of 4 dinner plates. Set 2 quail on top, spoon some sauce over, and ring with some of the wilted greens.
For the wilted greens:
1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 6 minutes.
2) Stir in the chard leaves and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook's Note: Brown chicken stock adds depth and flavour to this simple pan sauce. It is easy to make and great to have on hand in the freezer. Visit foodnetwork.co.uk and search for "brown chicken stock" to find a recipe.
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