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MasterChef New Zealand


Roasted Quail, Pancetta and Mushrooms

MasterChef New Zealand on TV ONE and TVNZ Ondemand

Roasted Quail, Pancetta, Mushrooms, Chestnuts, Croissant, Truffle Butter
Recipe by Simon Wright

Wine match - Huntaway Chardonnay

Roasted Quail

5 large quail, skinned, thighs removed and boned out, breasts removed, tenderloins reserved


20 slices pancetta

2 tsp picked thyme leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Truffle Butter

200g unsalted butter, softened

1 small winter truffle, finely sliced on a truffle slicer

1 tsp thyme leaves, picked

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

Salt, to taste

Quail Sauce

3 tbsp clarified butter

6 shallots, peeled, halved

½ bulb garlic

2 large sprigs thyme

6 black peppercorns

100g button mushrooms, sliced

40ml sherry vinegar

400ml Madeira

1L Campbells Real Chicken Stock

1L Campbells Real Beef Stock

Croissant Velouté

100g croissant

½ onion, finely sliced

25g butter

2 sprigs thyme

150ml Campbells Real Chicken Stock

150ml milk

150ml cream

Chestnuts and Mushrooms

50g butter

1 tbsp sugar

20 whole chestnuts

200g mixed mushrooms, finely sliced


1. To make the roasted quail, prepare the quail as required and place the tenderloins in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Add a touch of cream to create a mousse. Remove from the food processor and chill until required. Lay a large piece of cling film on a bench and lay out 4 pieces of pancetta, slightly overlapping. At one end of the strips, lay down one quail breast, slightly overlapping with one quail leg. Season with salt and pepper. Spread over a little of the quail mousse and top with a few thyme leaves. Lay down a quail leg over the first breast, and a breast on top of the leg. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Use the cling film to help roll the pancetta over the quail and roll into a cylinder shape. Tightly wrap the parcel in the cling film, then twist and tie the ends. Wrap the parcel tightly in tin foil. Repeat with remaining quail. Place the wrapped quail in a 65°C water bath for 30 minutes.

2. To make the truffle butter, mix together the butter, truffles, thyme and chives. Season to taste with salt. Lay a large piece of cling film on a bench. Spoon the butter onto the cling film and wrap up tightly to form a cylinder the same diameter as the quail parcels. Chill until required.

3. To make the quail sauce, place the quail carcasses in a high oven and roast until a golden brown. Heat the clarified butter in a large saucepan and sweat the shallots, garlic, thyme, peppercorns and mushrooms until tender. Deglaze the saucepan with the sherry vinegar, then add the Madeira and roasted quail carcasses. Reduce the Madeira by two thirds, then add the Campbells Real Chicken Stock and Campbells Real Beef Stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fat filter, cool slightly, then place in the refrigerator to set. Once set, remove the fat which has set on the surface and place in a clean sauce pan. Reduce the sauce until thick.

4. To make the croissant velouté, tear the croissant into small pieces, place on a baking tray and bake in the oven until lightly toasted. Heat the butter in a heavy based saucepan and sweat the shallots without colour until soft. Add the thyme and Campbells Real Chicken Stock, bring to a simmer and reduce by two thirds. Add the milk and cream and bring to the boil. Season to taste then remove from the heat and add the toasted croissant. Allow the croissant to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs, pour the croissant mixture into a blender and blend to a smooth consistency. Pour back into a clean saucepan and keep warm.

5. To serve the quail, warm in a water bath at 60°C. Remove the quail from the foil and cling film. Heat a little clarified butter in a frying pan, add the quail and caramelise the pancetta on all sides. Remove from the pan, allow to rest then trim the ends and cut in half to portion. Place the quail on its end on a tray and top with a slice of truffle butter. Place in the oven for a few seconds until the butter has softened.

6. To cook the chestnuts, heat 25g of the butter in a frying pan and add the sugar. Add the chestnuts and sauté until lightly coloured.

7. To cook the mushrooms, heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms until tender. Season to taste.