Quail do pack a lot of punch for their tiny size but do ask your butcher for jumbo quail to ensure enough meat for each guest. Serve this game recipe from Bruno Loubet, instead of turkey, lamb or chicken if you're wanting to break Christmas convention.
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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
6 pancetta slices
1 garlic clove
150g of mushrooms, sliced
125g of onion, chopped
1 lemon zest, grated
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp of olive oil
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
50g of butter
200ml of chicken stock
100g of long grain rice
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
50g of butter
250g of chicken livers
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
4 jumbo quails
8 pancetta slices
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
6 tbsp of olive oil
200ml of sweet white wine
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
120g of dried cranberries
40 red grapes
300ml of chicken stock
To plate, place the quails on a large serving plate. Spoon the juices and fruit over
and serve immediately
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