Quail packs a lot of punch for its tiny size but ask your butcher for jumbo quail to ensure enough meat for each guest. Serve this game recipe instead of turkey, lamb or chicken if you're wanting to break convention

To make the stuffing, cut 6 slices of pancetta into small pieces. In a pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the pancetta and fry to a light colour. Add the garlic, mushrooms, onions, lemon zest and thyme
Cook well, stirring occasionally, then add the rice. Mix well and add the 200ml of chicken stock and 50g of butter. Cover with a lid or a foil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes
Take off the heat and leave to rest for 2-3 minutes. Pour the rice onto a tray and cool down quickly
Clean the pan then heat the remaining butter. When it foams, cook the cleaned livers for 2 minutes only, then tip onto a chopping board and chop quite finely. Add to the cooling rice
Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6
When the rice is at room temperature, fill the quails with the stuffing and close each opening with 2 cocktail sticks. Wrap 2 slices of pancetta around each bird
Place the birds on a roasting tin and pour 6 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Cook for 10 minutes then add the white wine to the tin and leave to cook for another 15 minutes
Remove from the heat and place on a plate. Cover with foil and keep warm
Add the 300ml of stock to the roasting tray with the cranberries and the grapes. Simmer gently until the jus is a light consistency
To plate, place the quails on a large serving plate. Spoon the juices and fruit over and serve immediately
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Find out why we suggest matching this Christmas quail recipe with a spicy and rich red wine





  1. 8 cocktail sticks

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Serve up this Christmas quail recipe on the 25th and your guests will not be disappointed. The quails are stuffed with a pancetta filling

Christmas quail recipe Tweaks

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Absolutely delicious, very easy and uncomplicated to make. I followed, or I would have followed, this recipe exactly, but circumstances wouldn't allow it. Here, no one knows pancetta. My traiteur was shut for the holidays, so not even poitrine fumee. Finally I had to use jambon crue. I have never heard of or seen jumbo, and my poor ordinary sized quail didn't have any innards. I managed to find in the Saturday market a rabbit liver (much better). So when my printer starts working this recipe is definitely going into my own cookbook. My butcher is called Loubet and Bruno rather a common name here, so I presume the chef is French. Anyway, once again delish.
21 September 2013