This a delicious Calabrese dish from top chef Danny Russo. Boning quail takes a bit of practice, but a good, sharp boning knife will make all the difference. While this recipe serves 8 as an entree, you can easily halve the quantities. Make it and fall in love.
- 8 quail
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms, softened in water and roughly chopped
- 8 chestnuts, boiled, peeled and chopped
- 400 g minced chicken
- 2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 40 g parmesan, grated
- 1 lemon, zested
- 40 g fresh breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
- bones from the quail
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 1 small celery stalk, diced
- 100 ml madeira
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- sprig of thyme
- sprig of rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tomato, roughly chopped
- 2 litres water
- 40 g sea salt
- 10 g dried porcini mushrooms
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4 frozen porcini (cepe) mushrooms, thawed and cut into quarters
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
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.
To bone the quail for the involtini, find the wishbone at the top of the breast by pushing back the skin and use a small, sharp knife to cut it out. (Reserve all bones for the stock.) Cut on either side of the backbone with a pair of kitchen scissors to remove the backbone, and open the bird up. Detach the ribs with the tip of the knife and pull them out. Carefully cut out the breastbone. Check the quail for any remaining bones (the leg and wing bones should remain intact).
Place the remaining ingredients for the involtini (the stuffing) in a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside to allow the flavours to develop.
To make the quail stock, preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the quail bones, onion, carrot and celery on a tray and roast for around 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and deglaze the tray with the madeira, scraping any roasted meat and vegetables from the bottom. Tip the contents of the tray into a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1½ hours.
To make the porcini salt, crush the salt and dried mushrooms in a mortar until fine.
To assemble the quail involtini, lay the boned quail skin-side down on a board and season well. Place some stuffing in the middle of each bird, then roll up into a neat parcel. Tie with butcher’s string to hold the bird and stuffing in place.
To finish, preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium heat and lightly brown the quail all over. Transfer to a tray and roast in the oven for 10–15 minutes.
Sauté the quartered porcini mushrooms in the frying pan with another splash of oil. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of strained quail stock, and add the parsley. Place the mushrooms on plates and sit the roasted quail on top. Sprinkle with the porcini salt and drizzle with more oil.