Pancetta-Wrapped Quail with Pineapple Quince and Chestnut Jus
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Credit: Victor Scargle, executive chef, Julia’s Kitchen, COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, Napa, Calif.
The National Culinary Review, December 2003
2 tablespoons smoked bacon, julienned
1/2 bunch kale
Kosher salt, and black pepper as needed
6 boneless quail, left whole
6 thinly sliced pieces pancetta, or enough to totally cover each quail
1 pineapple quince
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 pound plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken stock, divided
1 cup chestnuts
1/2 bunch sage
Method: Render bacon over low heat in a little grapeseed oil. Remove and add julienned kale leaves. Cook till tender, then remove and cool immediately. Once bacon and kale are cool, season with salt and pepper and stuff quail half full. Wrap quail tightly in pancetta slices and refrigerate to allow pancetta to attach tightly to quail. Rub quince with oil, season with salt and pepper, and place in a pan or casserole dish. Add cinnamon stick, star anise, 1/2 pound ofbutter, and 1 cup of chicken stock. Cover with foil and roast for approximately one hour at 350° F until tender. Cool, then remove peel and core, and cut into thin slices. To make chestnut jus, place chestnuts (save one chestnut for garnish) in small saucepot with 2 cups of chicken stock and simmer until chestnuts are tender and falling apart. Add sage and 1/2 pound of butter, season and blend till smooth. Adjust consistency with chicken stock. Check seasoning again after blending, then strain through fine strainer. To cook the quail, heat a sauté pan with enough oil to cover until smoking. Place quail in pan and reduce heat to medium high. Sear all sides of quail, then place in 400° F oven for approximately 6 minutes. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter on low heat, baste quail. Remove and place quail on paper towel to rest for 3 to 4 minutes. To plate, fan six slices of quince in the center of a large bowl. Slice quail in half diagonally and place on top of quince, exposing kale stuffing. Drizzle sauce around quince and garnish with slices of chestnut fried in grapeseed oil and seasoned with kosher salt and sage sprigs.
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