Stuffed Marmalade Quail with Parsley Rice

Diana Henry's citrus-flavoured quail dish makes a wonderful main course for an autumn dinner party
By Diana Henry
Stuffed Marmalade Quail with Parsley Rice
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus marinating time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp fine-cut marmalade
  • 8 tbsp whiskey, plus 2 tbsp extra
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • 8 quail
  • 8 rashers streaky bacon, cut in half
  • 400 ml very well-flavoured chicken stock
  • 1 bunches watercress, to serve

For the stuffing

  • 15 g butter
  • 1/2 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 rashers streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 50 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten

For the parsley rice

  • 75 g wild rice
  • 150 g brown rice
  • 415 ml chicken stock
  • 2-3 tbsp melted butter, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

1. Mix the marmalade, 8 tablespoons of the whisky, thyme, salt and pepper together and spoon over the quail. Cover loosely and leave to marinate for anything from 1 hour to overnight. (If marinating for any more than 1 hour, place the quail in the fridge.)

2. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

3. For the stuffing: melt the butter in a pan and fry the onion and bacon until golden. Stir in the breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Remove the quail from the marinade (reserving marinade) and stuff each one with the breadcrumb mixture - it's a sticky process but manageable. Put a criss-cross of bacon on top of each bird, season with a little freshly ground black pepper and spoon over reserved marinade.

5. Put the birds in an ovenproof dish in which they will all fit snugly and cover. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through, spooning the juices and marinade over the birds every so often.

6. For the parsley rice: cook the wild rice in a saucepan of plain water and the brown rice in the chicken stock. Wild rice never really softens but stays firm and nutty; it should be ready in 25 minutes. The brown rice will take around 30 minutes - it stays nutty as well, but less so than the wild rice. The brown rice should absorb all the stock as it cooks, but make sure it doesn't boil dry. Add a little water as and when it is needed.

7. While the rice and quail are cooking, bring the chicken stock to the boil in a saucepan and boil until it is reduced by half and is slightly syrupy. Add the extra whisky. Check for seasoning - you might want to add some pepper, but you shouldn't need to.

8. When both rices are cooked, drain them well and combine. While still warm, add melted butter or extra virgin olive oil to moisten. Stir in the parsley and check for seasoning.

9. Serve 2 quail per person with some of the sauce spooned around them, with a portion of the rice and a little watercress on the side.

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