Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | Winter Menu | Main Course

Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | The Dinner Party Collective
Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | Celeriac Puree | Grilled Treviso Radicchio

I resent being stuck in the kitchen while my friends enjoy good wine and spirited conversation at the dining table, so choosing to prepare delicious food that requires only a short amount of time to cook without compromise to the “wow” factor is paramount in my planning.

It’s nice to serve food that’s not dished up for family meals during the working week at a dinner party and once deboned, quail requires minimum last minute cooking.


Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | The Dinner Party Collective

  • 16-24 (2-3 per person) boneless Quail Breasts (with wing attached, but wing tips removed)
  • small bunch of fresh Thyme
  • 8 slices of Prosciutto (halved lengthwise)
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 30g (2 Tablespoons) Butter
  • 30mls (2 Tablespoons) Olive Oil

For the Quail Stock:

(Or use 600mls/2¼ Cups homemade Chicken Stock)

  • trimmings from butterflying 8 quails
  • 1 Onion (roughly chopped)
  • 2 small Purple Carrots (for a rich colour) or regular carrots if you can’t find purple ones

For the Glazed Red Grape Garnish:

  • 500g (1lb) Seedless Red Grapes (I used Red Cardinal grapes)
  • 15g (1 Tablespoon) Butter
  • 15mls (1 Tablespoon) Vincotto (see notes)
  • 60mls (¼ Cup) Quail Stock

For the Sauce:

  • 500mls (2 cups) Quail Stock
  • 30mls (2 Tablespoons) Vincotto (see notes)
  • 30g (2 Tablespoons) Butter (cut into small pieces)
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

(The day before) make the Quail Stock:

Roast the quail bones, carrots and onion in an oiled roasting pan in a 180°C/350°F oven, until well caramelised (about 40 minutes). Transfer the bones and vegetables to a stockpot and scrape all the caramelised pieces from the roasting pan. Cover with water and bring the pot to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. The stock will be purple from the carrot but the finished sauce will look better for it.

Strain the stock, discard the solids then return the stock to the pan and reduce until well flavoured, about 600mls. Strain the stock through a very fine mesh strainer, then refrigerate until needed.

(Afternoon of the Dinner Party) prepare the quail:

Season each quail breast lightly with sea salt and pepper.

Strip the leaves from a stem of fresh thyme so they fall onto the breast.

Roll the seasoned quail breast in a half slice of prosciutto.

Chill until an hour before cooking time.

Remove the quail breasts from the fridge an hour before you intend to cook, to allow them to come to room temperature.

(Afternoon of the Dinner Party) glaze the grapes:

Pick the grapes from the stems, discard any that are blemished. Wash and dry the grapes.

In a small pan heat the butter, vincotto and stock. bring to the boil, add the grapes and simmer rapidly shaking the pan frequently until the grapes are glazed and the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Set aside until dinner time.

Reheat the grapes just before serving.

To cook the quail:

Heat 2 sauté pans, add half the butter and half the oil to each.

Cook the quail breasts over medium heat for 3 minutes then turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes.

Set aside in a warm place to rest.

To make the Sauce:

Deglaze the 2 sauté pans with a little stock, then combine the pan juices into one. Add the remaining stock, the vincotto and a generous grinding of black pepper and boil rapidly to reduce by half. Add the butter, whisk to emulsify it into the sauce.

Return the quail breasts to the pan and turn each breast over in the sauce to coat it in glaze.

To Serve:

Serve with Celeriac Purée and Grilled Treviso Radicchio (recipes to follow) and topped with the glazed grapes.

Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes | The Dinner Party Collective

Suggested Wine Pairings:

  • GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia
  • Bordeaux, Left Bank (Médoc), France

Preparation and Cooking Tips:

  • When preparing the quail, using sharp poultry shears snip the wing tips off the breast at the second last joint. The wing tips can be added to the stock pot with the rib cages.
  • If time is short or you’re not confident deboning the quail, smile and ask your poultry supplier to butterfly the quail for you. Be sure to get the bones included for the stockpot. Freeze the quail Marylands to use at a later date.
  • For the side dishes – the Celeriac Puree can be prepared in advance, as can the Treviso Radicchio (to a certain point).

Ingredient Substitutions:

Vincotto – (which translates literally as ‘cooked wine’) is a sweet, dark liquid created by slowly reducing unfermented grape must. It has an agrodolce (sweet and sour) flavour and can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes. If you are unable to source vincotto where you live, you could possibly substitute with a syrupy Balsamic Glaze, or perhaps even a combination of Balsamic, brown sugar and allspice (1 Tbspn Balsamic + ½ Tbspn Brown Sugar + ½ tspn Ground Allspice).

Quail – if you are unable to source quail for this recipe, you could use the smallest skinless chicken breasts available (or larger breasts divided in half). Prepare as per the quail, brown them in the pan, but then finish them in a moderate oven (cooking times can be a little difficult to recommend, due to several variables). When the chicken breasts are done they will feel firm, but not hard. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Two Winter Side Dishes to accompany the Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes

Celeriac Purée

Celeriac | The Dinner Party Collective

  • 2 large Celeriac roots
  • approximately 60mls (¼ cup) light Cream
  • Sea Salt and White Pepper

Peel the celeriac and cut into even sized chunks.

Place it into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until soft (about 10-15 minutes).

Drain the celeriac, then tip it into the jug of a blender and purée. Add enough cream to make a smooth purée. Season to taste with sea salt and white pepper.

Place the celeriac into a greased ovenproof dish. The celeriac can be set aside in the refrigerator at this point.

Gently reheat the purée in a low oven or in the microwave.

Grilled Treviso Radicchio

Radicchio Treviso | The Dinner Party Collective
Grilled Treviso Radicchio | Winter Side Dish
  • 4 small-medium Treviso Radicchio,
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Preheat the broiler, grill or salamander to a medium heat. Position the oven rack/tray about 30cm away from the heat.

Wash the radicchio and shake dry. Cut each head in half lengthwise.

Arrange the raddicchio on an ovenproof tray lined with baking paper.

Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little oil.

The radicchio can be prepared ahead of time and set aside at this point.

Place the radicchio under the heat and grill until it changes colour and wilts a little.

Turn the heads of radicchio and return to the heat until heated through (about 5 minutes).

Serve immediately.

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