Serves 4

Notes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups crustless day-old country-bread cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, 4 ounces finely chopped, 12 ounces sliced (button, cremini, shiitake, chanterelle, oyster)
  • 2 links sweet Italian sausage (about 7 ounces), removed from casings
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
  • 8 semi-boneless quail (about 2 pounds)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the bread in a large bowl, and pour the milk over it. Let the bread soak while you assemble the stuffing for the quail. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the onion and celery. Cook until everything just begins to soften, about 4 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high, and add the chopped mushrooms and sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the sausage and mushrooms are well browned, about 3 minutes. Add the scallions, season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and some pepper, and cook until the scallions are wilted, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the white wine, and simmer rapidly until the wine is reduced away, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a bowl to cool.

When the vegetables are cooled, squeeze the bread dry, leaving the milk in the bowl, and add the bread to the vegetables, breaking it up with your fingers. Stir in the parsley and grated cheese, and mix well. Season the quail inside and out with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Divide the stuffing among the body cavities of the quail.

Heat a large roasting pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. When the butter is melted, add the sliced mushrooms, and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are softened, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining cup of white wine, and bring it to a boil. Set the quail, breast side up, on the mushrooms, and roast them until the skin is golden and the quail are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Adjust the pan sauce for seasoning. Serve the quail with the mushroom pan sauce spooned over the top.