- 5 MacIntosh apples, peeled and cored
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons, plus 1/2 tablespoon, plus pinch finely chopped fresh herb mix (recommended: a blend of sage, thyme, and rosemary)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 disks pre-made pie dough, each 6-inches in diameter
- 1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup fresh fennel, thinly sliced
- 6 boned quail, breast bones removed
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup red wine
- 3 tablespoons dried blueberries
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- *Cook's Note: The croustade can be assembled up to a day ahead and baked to order. The quail can be marinated for up to 12 hours prior to cooking.
To prepare the croustade:
Slice the apples into thin wedges. To a hot saute pan, add 2 tablespoons of the butter and immediately add the apples. Saute over high heat while tossing the apples, cooking until the apples begin to soften and brown on the edges, approximately 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper; continue to cook for 30 seconds. Remove the apples from the heat and let them cool for 10 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Lay out the pie dough disks and evenly spread 2 tablespoons of the grated cheddar on each. Place approximately 3 to 4 tablespoons of the apple mixture in the center of each pie dough disk. To form the croustade work from the outside in, folding in 2-inch pleats and continue around until the folds meet each other. The croustade should have an accordion look with a hole in the center; it should look like a small volcano.
Either set aside and keep refrigerated until ready to bake, or bake in a 450 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until evenly golden brown. Keep warm until ready to use.
To prepare the quail:
Slice the fennel very thinly. Heat a saute pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter, and then add the fennel and saute for 3 to 4 minutes until the fennel starts to become tender and translucent. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Carefully open the breast cavity of each quail and fill the cavity with approximately 1 tablespoon of the sauteed fennel. Do not over-stuff the quail, as they will shrink when cooking.
Place the quail in a bowl or shallow container. Add 1 1/2 cups of the red wine, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of chopped herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gently toss the quail to evenly disperse the herbs, salt and pepper. Marinate the quail in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
In a separate bowl, combine the blueberries and the remaining 1/2 cup of wine and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Remove the quail from the marinade and drain off the excess liquid, discarding the remaining marinade. To a large oven-safe saute pan over high heat, add enough vegetable oil to evenly coat the pan (about 2 tablespoons). Place the quail, breast-side down, in the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Turn the quail over and cook for 1 minute on the other side, or until browned. Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fully cooked through.
Remove the quail from the pan and immediately add the wine and blueberry mixture. Return the pan to the stovetop and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and add a healthy pinch of the herb blend. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and remove from the heat. Whisk the sauce until the butter is incorporated.
Place a warm croustade on each plate. Split the quail down the middle and arrange around the croustade. Drizzle the sauce on and around the quail and evenly distribute the blueberries. Serve immediately.
* Professional Recipe
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.