About this recipe:Celebrate a special occasion with quails marinated in wine, and fruit-stuffed apples. Serve alone as a starter. For a main course add carrots and spinach, with potato and pumpkin mash to soak up the sauce.
4 oven-ready quails
1 lemon, cut into quarters
4 to 5 bushy sprigs of fresh rosemary
For the marinade
300ml (10 fl oz) fruity dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and black pepper
For the stuffed apples
3 tablespoons brandy, warmed
75g (2 3/4 oz) currants
50g (1 3/4 oz) preserved stem ginger, drained and chopped
2 rashers of rindless smoked streaky bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 small dessert apples
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Method Prep:1hr30min › Cook:30min › Ready in:2hr
To make the marinade, combine the wine, olive oil and garlic in a bowl and add salt to taste. Add the quails and coat well, rubbing the marinade inside and out. Cover and leave them to marinate for 1 hour, turning the birds over a few times.
Meanwhile, to make the stuffing for the apples, stir together the brandy, currants and ginger in a small bowl and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Arrange sprigs of rosemary over the base of a roasting tin, saving a few for a garnish.
Stir the bacon and thyme into the brandy and add salt and pepper. Core the apples, then cut a ring around each circumference, so that they can expand as they bake. Using a teaspoon, stuff the apples with the fruit mixture.
Remove the quails from the marinade and place a lemon quarter inside each. Place the quails and apples on the rosemary, pour the marinade over them and loosely cover the roasting tin with foil.
Bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and baste. Increase the heat to 230 C / Gas 8) and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until the quails are tender and the juices run clear when pierced in the thighs.
Transfer the quails and apples to a plate and keep them warm. (If the apples are not completely tender, leave them in the oven while you make the sauce.)
Strain the pan juices into a small pan and boil hard until slightly thickened. Pour the sauce over the quails and serve.