“Mercy is endless and we only need receive it in gratitude.” ~ General Loewenhielm from Babette’s Feast
Babette’s Cailles en Sarcophage
1 pound frozen puff pastry, defrosted 20 minutes at room temperature
4 quails, boned
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
12 ounces foie gras, of which is cut across in 8 slices, the rest cut into 2/3- inch cubes
1 1-ounce black truffle, sliced as thinly as possible, at least 12 slices
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup demi-glace (see note)
16 black figs, quartered
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 5-inch rounds from the pastry. Make a 3-inch circle in the center of each round, being careful not to cut to the bottom of the dough. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 22 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Carefully lift out the 3-inch round from the center to create a nest with a top. Set aside to cool.
Raise the oven to 450 degrees. Season the inside of the quails with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Lay 1 slice of foie gras in each quail cavity followed by 3 truffle slices and top with the remaining foie gras. Truss the quails. Season the outsides with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear the quails, 20 to 30 seconds per side. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the quails and roast for 5 minutes more. Remove and keep warm in a covered dish.
Place the skillet over high heat on top of the stove. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and demi-glace and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the figs and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the 1/4- inch cubes of foie gras and simmer, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce is reduced to 2/3 cup. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, put each quail in a pastry nest. Drizzle with sauce, top with the pastry round and surround with the figs.
YIELD 4 servings
NOTEDemi-glace is available by calling 1-800-DARTAGNAN.
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