Pan-Roasted Stuffed Quail With Figs & Madeira
What You Need
4 semi-boneless quail
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces diced pancetta
4 ounces diced mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake, and porcini
2 cups (3 ounces) chopped spinach
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup (4 ounces) grated gruyere
Coarse kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 small shallots, sliced thick
6 fresh figs, halved
1/2 cup dry Madeira
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Rinse quail, discard V-pin if included, and dry thoroughly. (If you have the time, chill quail uncovered on a baking sheet for 1-2 hours; this will dry the birds and yield a crisp, brown skin during cooking).
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Combine olive oil and pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and rosemary and sauté until mushrooms are cooked and pancetta is crispy, about 5 minutes. Scrape into a mixing bowl and mix in cooked rice and gruyere. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Season quail inside and out with salt and pepper. Fill each cavity with about one-quarter of the rice stuffing. Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine, or, use a paring knife to cut a small slit in one leg, then gently thread the other leg through.
Wipe the skillet clean and return to the stove over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the hot skillet. When the foam subsides add quail, breast-side down. Gently tilt the skillet toward you and use a large spoon to baste the birds with hot butter as they sear (this will help prevent the butter from burning). After 3-5 minutes gently flip the quail, turn off the heat, and transfer skillet to preheated oven to cook for 8-10 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven and transfer quail to a plate to rest while you make the sauce.
Return skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add shallots and Madeira and cook until shallots soften and Madeira reduces by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Gently stir in figs until warmed through and coated in sauce. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Nestle among the figs and shallots in the skillet. Garnish with parsley and serve.