sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
80g butter, plus 50g extra
2 small leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
¾ cup dried sour cherries
50ml white wine
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
½ tsp allspice
1 tbsp orange zest, finely grated
¼ cup pistachios, chopped
1 cup cooked cous cous
TO SERVE: fresh watercress
1 Preheat oven to 180°C.
2Season quail with salt and pepper inside and out.
3For stuffing, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until they are tender.
4Add cherries, half the wine, chicken stock, tarragon and allspice, season with salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cherries are softened and the sauce reduced. Add the orange zest, pistachios and cous cous and toss to combine.
5Spoon stuffing into cavity of each quail and tie legs with twine.
6Place quail in roasting pan, dot with extra butter and pour remaining wine into base of pan. Roast, basting occasionally for 20-30 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Pairing a pinot noir with quail is a failsafe combo but this recipe adds a plethora of complex ingredients to the delicate, sweet meat of the quail. So it’s time to move the depth and complexity of the accompanying red up a notch. Nebbiolo is the obvious choice, as it carries all the perfumed deliciousness of a pinot with an extra layer of complexity and a farewell spike of tannins. Owen Latta’s nebbiolo friskily acts as the perfect foil to the allspice and tarragon used in the recipe. The intense flavours of the cherry stuffing are echoed by the juicy dark cherry notes of the nebbiolo.