Roast Quail with Port Sauce


1/2 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup good-quality port (preferably not too sweet)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed

several sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon juniper berries

8 quail, preferably fresh, with breast and backbones removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Port Sauce:

2 pounds poultry bones, necks, and wing tips (quail, chicken, duck, or any combination
of the three)

2 carrots, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)

3 ribs celery, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 clove garlic, crushed with the flat of a knife blade

3 quarts water

1/2 cup veal stock or beef broth

1 cup good quality port

Final Enrichment:

2 tablespoons good-quality port

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Using a wire whisk, combine the marinade ingredients in a stainless
steel bowl. Add the quail and rub thoroughly with the marinade, inside
and out. (Don't be afraid to use your hands.) Cover the bowl and
refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

The Port Sauce accompaniment may be made while the quail is marinating.
Combine the bones, vegetables, and seasonings in a roasting pan and
roast in a 375°F oven for 2 hours, turning occasionally, until
everything is well browned.

Transfer the bones and vegetables to a heavy-bottomed stockpot and
cover with the water. Bring to a boil, add the beef and veal stock or
beef broth, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook 1 1/2 hours. Strain
this rich stock into another saucepan, add the cup of port, and simmer
again to reduce liquid to 1 1/2 cups. At this point the sauce may be
cooled and refrigerated for up to two days. Rewarm the sauce during the
quail's preparation and add the final enrichment of port and butter
just prior to serving. This will both enhance the final flavor and give
the sauce a silken sheen.

To cook the quail, preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat 2 tablespoons of
olive oil in a castiron or other heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over
medium heat. Drain the quail of excess marinade and pan roast,
uncovered, until mahogany in color (about 3 minutes on each side).
Place the ovenproof skillet and quail in the oven for 9 minutes. Serve
immediately with the port sauce.

Serves 4 as an entree or 8 as a first course.