Roast Quail with Basil and Mushroom Mousseline

Andrew Nutter's restaurant-style stuffed quail is deep fried in a two-tone batter, coloured with beetroot extract and green chlorophyll
By Andrew Nutter
Roast Quail with Basil and Mushroom Mousseline
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: hard


  • 2 quail
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the stuffing

  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • 8 basil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 6 cep mushrooms, soaked in water
  • 1 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 rashers smoked bacon, fried until crisp, chopped

For the stock

  • 1 carrot, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 leek, chopped
  • 1 stick celery
  • 3-4 stalks parsley
  • 5 black peppercorns

For the batter

  • 100 g plain flour
  • 50-75 ml water
  • pinches bicarbonate of soda
  • beetroot extract
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the sauce

  • 200 ml red wine
  • 200 ml quail stock, (see above)
  • 1 plum tomato, blanched, flesh diced
  • 2 basil


1. Using a sharp knife, remove the breasts and legs from the quails. Save the carcass for making stock.

2. For the stock, place the carcasses in a deep saucepan. Pour over 600ml cold water, and add the carrot, onion, leek, celery, parsley stalks and peppercorns.

3. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, skimming regularly to remove any foam on top. Continue cooking for about 1 hour, skimming the surface every now and again. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave on one side to cool before straining.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

5. For the stuffing, put the chicken, basil, garlic, ceps, thyme, egg and bacon in a food processor, and blend to a paste. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. With a sharp knife, slit the quail breasts to make a pocket in each one. Fill two-thirds of the stuffing into these pockets.

6. Remove the smaller thigh bone from the quail legs, leaving the larger drumstick bone in place. Take a little of the remaining stuffing and push it into the cavity from where the bone has been removed from the 4 thighs.

7. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the breasts and legs for 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer the pan to the oven and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, or until the quails are just tender. Remove the quails from the pan and keep warm while you make the sauce.

8. To make the sauce, pour the red wine into the same frying pan, and reduce by half. Pour in the quail stock and cook down until it has reduced by half again.

9. Stir in the tomato and basil, season to taste and leave on one side while you make the batter.

10. For the batter, sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl, and add enough water to make a slack batter. Divide the mixture between three bowls. Add the beetroot extract to one, the chlorophyll to the other, and leave the third bowl plain.

11. Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 150C.

12. Dust the quail legs with a little flour, and dip in the plain batter. Drizzle with the beetroot-coloured batter and green chlorophyll batter. Deep fry in hot oil for 3-4 minutes, until crisp.

13. Arrange the cooked quail breasts and fried legs on a serving plate. Reheat the sauce and drizzle over the meat. Accompany with piped rosettes of celeriac puree or mashed potato, and crisp savoury biscuits such as Parmesan tuiles.

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