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Spit-roasted quails with orange wine butter

Quail are tiny British game birds which are commercially reared and are available all year around. They should be eaten the day after they are killed, or as soon as possible, but never allowed to become high, A dressed quail will weigh only 100 g / 4 oz, and you will need to serve 1, or even 2, per person. 
One of my favorite ways to cook quail is to spit-roast them, I first fill them with an orange and wine flavored butter, leave them for 2 hours to absorb the flavors then spit-roast them for just 15-20 minutes until they reach succulent perfection. 

Spit-roasted quails with orange wine butter

Photo Credit = www.foodnetwork.com

1/2 hours, 2 hours standing, 
15-20 minutes spit-roasting 

Serves 2-4 

4 x 100 g / 4 oz quails, dressed weight 
salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the orange wine butter

275 ml / 10 fl oz red wine 
75 g / 3 oz butter 
3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped 
finely grated zest of 1 orange 
5 ml / 1 tsp orange juice 
freshly ground black pepper 


1- First make the orange wine butter: boil the wine in a small pan until it has reduced to about 45 ml / 3 tbs. Leave the reduced wine to cool. 

2- In a small bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the finely chopped anchovy fillets and the grated orange zest, and beat until well blended. Gradually beat in the reduced wine and orange juice, and season to taste with freshly ground balck pepper. You probably will not need to add any salt because of the saltiness of the anchovies. 

3- Place one-third of the flavored butter on a butter wrapping paper or square of grease-proof paper. Use the paper to roll the butter into a roll 25 mm / 1 in across and 8-10 cm / 3-4 in long. Make sure the butter is covered with the grease-proof paper, then refrigerate it until required. 

4- Rub the quails inside and out with freshly ground black pepper. Divide the remaining flavored butter between the body cavities of the quails, place them on a plate and leave to stand at room temperature for about 2 hours, to absorb the flavor of the butter. 

5- If you are using an oven rotisserie, heat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / gas 7. Using a double thickness of aluminium foil, make a long, narrow trough to place under the spit to catch the juices that drip from the quails as they roast. (Do not use a large tin, as any juice dripping into this would burn.)

6- Thread the quails, length-ways, onto a spit, and spit-roast the quails for 15-20 minutes, basting halfway through the cooking time. To test that the quails are cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the inside leg; the juices should run clear. 

7- Transfer the cooked quails to a heated serving dish and up the collected dripped juices over them. Cut the chilled butter into 4 pieces, lay one piece at the open end of each quail and serve immediately.


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