Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quail Stuffed With Foie Gras and Topped With Wild Mushrooms

Whenever I visit my favorite butcher shop in NYC (Ottomanelli & Sons), I like to stock up on certain proteins that are never available at my local grocery stores.  Boneless quail is one of those items. And the mini frozen packages of foie gras is another.  All of Ottomanelli's products are very high quality and, although these particular proteins are frozen, they are very good.  So, basically, my comment is that “I have quail, on call” whenever I have a package in the freezer.

One dish that I like to make using the quail, when stuffed, is with foie gras and wild mushrooms.  This is a dish to make only once a year, typically in the dead of winter. Recently, I made the dish but "forgot" to include the wild mushrooms in the stuffing, so I opted to make a wild mushroom  topping with baby portobello and shiitake mushrooms.  This recipe is adapted from Chef Waldy Malouf of the Beacon in NYC from his book, The Hudson River Valley Cookbook.
Quail Stuffed With Foie Gras and Topped With Wild Mushrooms
8 oz. skinless and boneless chick breast
1 egg white
2 oz. Port
4 oz. light cream
1/2  tsp kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (combined)
Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/8th of a teaspoon
4 oz.  foie gras, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1/4 # spinach, blanched, chopped and squeezed as dry as possible
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

4 boneless quail (available from Ottomanelli & Sons Prime Meat Market )
4 slices of duck (or turkey) bacon
4 teaspoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 # assorted wild mushrooms -- portobello, shiitake, etc.
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock -- preferably homemade -- NEVER the stuff in a can or a box or, worse, a cube

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Make the filling:  put the chicken, egg white, and  port in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.  While the processor  is running, add the cream, salt & pepper and grated nutmeg. Mix in remaining filling ingredients.  Put mixture into a pastry bag or a quart-size plastic bag (where you would cut the corner to mimic a pastry bag).

Lay the quail on their backs and using a pastry bag (or the plastic bag), squeeze the filling mixture into the cavities of each one, restoring their whole, plump shape.  Cross their legs to close in the stuffing.  Then, starting at the head end, wrap a piece of bacon around the sides of the quail and back to the head end to cover both openings.  The quail should be resting in a bed of bacon.

Place quail in oven; after about 20 minutes, dab about a teaspoon of butter on each one, and continue to roast for another 20 minutes.  Check for doneness.   Then, turn off oven; and let quail rest in oven.

In a large pan, heat 1/2 cup of the butter.  Add shallots, garlic and thyme.  Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned.  Add wine and continue to cook until wine is absorbed.  Add stock; stir well and simmer until liquid is reduced and thickened slightly.  Season with salt and pepper and add butter.

Remove quail from oven and top with mushroom mixture.  That's it.

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