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Pan-roasted Quail

12 Quail
12 Pancetta; thinly sliced
12 Fresh sage leaves
2 tb Unsalted butter
1 tb Vegetable oil
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 c Dry white wine
Polenta or mashed potatoes, for serving


Wash the quail thouroughly inside and out, then place them in a large colander to drain for at least 20 minutes.


Pat the quail dry. Stuff the cavity of each bird with 1 slice of pancetta and 1 sage leaf.


Put the butter and oil in a large heavy skillet on high heat. When the fat is hot, add all the quail in a single layer and cook until browned on one side. Graduall turn them and continue cooking until they are evenly browned all over. Sprinkle the quail with salt and pepper, then add the white wine and turn the birds once.


Let the wine bubble for about 1 minute, then lower the heat to moderate and partially cover the pan. Cook the quail until the meat feels very tender when poked with a fork and comes away from the bone, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check from time to time that there is sufficient juices in the pan to keep the birds from sticking; if not add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. When the quail are done, transfer them to a warmed serving platter.


Add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet. Boil over high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any cooking residues, until the water boils away and only a few drops of dark pan juices for each bird remain. Pour the juices over the quail and serve with polenta or mashed potatoes.


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