When roasting small birds like quail, it is important to stop the meat from drying out. This can be done by placing a rasher of fat bacon around the bird, but surrounding the bird with liquid - in this case stock and apple juice - works just as well.
Preparation time : 15 minutes,
Soaking time : 1-2 hours,
Cooking time : 30 minutes,
Oven : Preheat to 220°C (425°F, gas mark 7),
Calories per serving: 690
2 oz (50 g) raisins
2 tablespoons brandy
2 small apples (Cox's or similar dessert apples)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 pint (150 ml) unsweetened apple juice
1/2 pint (285 ml) chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the raisins in a basin, pour over the brandy and leave to soak for 1-2 hours, until the raisins have absorbed the brandy and become plump.
2. Remove any giblets from the quails and core and chop the apples, leaving the skins intact. Add the apples to the raisins with the thyme and mix well. Use this mixture to stuff the quails and place the stuffed birds in an ovenproof dish.
3. Pour over the apple juice and stock and season with black pepper. Roast the birds in the oven for 30 minutes, basting them two or three times with the liquid. Preheat a serving dish.
4. Lift the birds out of the dish, place them on the serving dish, then cover and keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a pan and boil rapidly to reduce by half. Pour it around the quails and serve.
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