Stage 19 – Maubourguet/Val D’Adour: For this special-occasion dish, packed with bite-size goodies like grapes and chestnuts, I love using the beautiful, dry white wine produced around Bergerac.






Skill level

Average: 2.3 (19 votes)


  • ½ tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 quails, butterflied
  • 1 French shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 rashers bacon, chopped
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 100 ml strong chicken stock
  • 12 tinned cooked chestnuts or frozen peeled chestnuts (see Note)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 25 red grapes, approximately
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add half of the butter. Add quails and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until browned all over. Remove the quails from the pan.

Add the shallot and bacon. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Boil for 1 minute. Return the quails to the pan. Add the stock and chestnuts, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, drop grapes into boiling water for 1-2 seconds, then drain.

Remove quails and chestnuts from the pan. Bring cooking juices to the boil, and cook until reduced to about ¼ cup. Stir in remaining butter. Return quails and chestnuts to pan. Add grapes. Reheat for about 5 minutes.

Serve quails with chestnuts, grapes and sauce. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.



• Tinned or frozen chestnuts are available from gourmet food stores and select grocers, such as Harris Farm.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Alice Storey.

Props by Hayden Youlley Design.

In-video photography by Peter Warren.