Quail Farci with Black Truffle Risotto
These elegant boned quail are stuffed with foie gras, spinach, and savory vegetables and served atop creamy truffled risotto. Note the clever way the chef encloses the quails in foil packets to seal in the juices, but leaves the breasts exposed to brown.
- Quail - 4, cleaned
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Spinach - 1-1/2 cups, stemmed
- Foie gras - Four, 2-ounce slices
- Celery Root - 1/2, peeled, diced small, and blanched
- Carrot - 1, peeled, diced small, and blanched
- Pine nuts - 1/2 cup
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Truffled Risotto
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick), cut in pieces
- Arborio Rice - 1 cup
- Chicken Stock - 3-1/2 cups, heated
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 tablespoon
- Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese - 1/2 cup, grated
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Black Truffle - 1
- Tomato Roses - 4, very small
- Rosemary Sprigs - 4
To prepare the quail: For each quail, cut off the last portion of the wings and the bottoms of the leg bones. Press the meat back on the legs to expose the bones. Cut open down each side of the spine with kitchen shears and lift out the spine portion. With your fingers and a small knife as necessary, separate and lift out the breast bone and ribs; only the leg bones and upper wing bones should remain. Lay the quail out flat, skin-side down, wings and legs extended. Season the cavities with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a saute pan or skillet over medium heat and saute the spinach until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut the foie gras into 1-inch pieces and saute in a non-stick pan over high heat for 30 to 45 seconds, until lightly browned; drain off the grease.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Stuff each quail cavity with spinach, celery root, carrot, foie gras, and pine nuts. For each quail, fold the wings in over the stuffing, then the fold in the legs, crossing the bones. Place each one breast-up on a 12-inch square of heavy foil. Fold in the sides of the foil around the quail, then the ends, creating square packets which leave the breasts exposed in the centers of the packets. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and lay the packets in the pan with one side of each breast touching the pan to brown. When the breasts are just browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, turn over and brown the other side. When both sides are browned, place the packets flat in the pan, breasts up, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Open the packets and let any juices run into the pan; set the quail aside to rest for 5 minutes. Return the pan to the top of the stove and reduce the juices slightly.
To make the risotto: Put the butter and rice in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat and swirl together as the butter melts to coat the rice. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 2 minutes. Add about 2/3 cup of the chicken stock to the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until the stock is almost completely absorbed. Continue to add the hot stock, half a cup at a time, stirring constantly as it is absorbed, until all the stock has been absorbed; the rice should be creamy. Stir in the cream and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Shave the truffle over the rice and fold the truffle shavings into the risotto.
To serve: Place a mound of risotto on each warmed serving plate. Place a quail on each, breast-up. Garnish each quail with a small tomato rose and a sprig of rosemary. Dot each plate with quail pan juice.