Quail is a common meat in many European dishes. It has a lean, gamey meat that becomes wonderfully flavourful after marinating. Vine roasted quail is an elegant dish that’s perfect for a dinner party (just tell your guests to watch out for bones!).
TO DRINK: A full-bodied, oaked Chardonnay pairs well with the sweetgrapes, rich bacon and gamey meat
Vine roasted quail
- 24 sprigs of fresh thyme, stalks removed
- 200g butter, cut into 8 slices
- 1 garlic clove, cut into 8 thin slices
- 4 large quails
- 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper,
- to taste
- 4 rashers streaky bacon
- 4 shallots (or 1 medium onion cut
- into quarters)
- 2 small bunches of Hanepoot grapes
- 125ml (½ cup) golden chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 230°C.
Sprinkle half of the stripped thyme onto the butter and press 1 piece of sliced garlic onto the underside of
Gently slide your fingers between the breast meat and the skin of each bird (start from the neck area) and place one
piece of thyme/garlic butter on each breast under the skin. Try to get the butter thyme-side up for presentation
Drizzle the quail with olive oil and season well.
Place 1 rasher of bacon over the breast of each quail. Place the remaining thyme and the shallots or onion into the cavity of the birds. Truss with kitchen string and roast in the hot oven for 7 minutes, then remove.
Turn the oven down to 220°C. Add the grapes to the roasting tray and return to the oven for 12 minutes.
Remove the birds and grapes from the oven and bring the roasting juices to a rapid boil with the chicken stock on the stove. While boiling, whisk in knobs of the remaining butter, resulting in a thick and glossy sauce. Serve with herbed polenta.