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The Hirshon French Quail in Puff Pastry with Foie Gras and Truffles From Babette’s Feast – Cailles en Sarcophage

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 12 quails boned (by that I mean remove the backbone and rib cage bones leaving the legs and wings still on—this makes eating the tiny birds much easier)
  • 1/2 cup Bual Madeira
  • 2 T Cognac
  • 1 recipe for game stock (recipe follows)
  • 1 recipe for brown chaud-froid sauce (recipe follows)
  • 12 pastry cases (recipe follows)
  • 250 gr fresh foie gras (goose livers)
  • 250 gr. fresh Perigord truffles, finely diced
  • 4 large truffles, sliced thinly
  • 36 large seedless grapes
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. each Cognac and Bual Madeira
  • ***
  • 16 black figs, quartered
  • 1 sprig of marjoram
  • Manetti 23K Edible Gold Leaf
  • ***
  • Croutes de Bouchees Feuilletees
  • (Puff Pastry Cases with Duck Fat)
  • ***
  • Butter layer
  • 1 lb + 3 1/2 T (510g) best-quality cold unsalted butter
  • 2 t (10 ml lemon juice
  • 1 c (130g) bread flour
  • pinch of salt
  • ***
  • Dough
  • 3 c (400 g) bread flour (freeze it)
  • 3 1/2 T (55g) duck fat, frozen
  • 2 t Salt
  • 1 c cold water (start with 3/4 and add as needed, you may not need a whole cup)
  • ***
  • For the Game Stock:
  • ***
  • 1 1/2 kilos breast or other cuts of venison
  • 450 gr. trimmings of hare or rabbit
  • l small pheasant or partridge, trussed
  • 3 onions, halved
  • 3 medium carrots, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 bouquet garni (with 3 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 unpeeled cloves garlic and 2 whole cloves, tied in muslin)
  • 68 peppercorns
  • l tsp. juniper berries
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • salt as required
  • ***
  • For the Brown Meat Stock:
  • ***
  • 1 1/2 kilos beef and veal bones, cracked
  • 1 1/4 kilos beef shank meat
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 2 medium carrots, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery
  • l bouquet garni (with 3 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig thyme, 1/2 bay leaf, 2 unpeeled garlic cloves and 2 whole cloves, tied in muslin)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ***
  • For the Sauce Brune:
  • ***
  • 6 cups brown meat stock (preceding recipe)
  • 1/2 cup each carrots, onions and celery, all chopped finely
  • 6 Tbsp. clarified butter or rendered pork fat
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 Tbsp. boiled ham, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • l bouquet garni (3 sprigs parsley, l sprig thyme and 1 bay leaf, tied together)
  • ***
  • For the meat jelly stock:
  • ***
  • 450 gr. beef, cut in cubes
  • 350 gr. veal knuckle
  • 350 gr. veal and beef bones, sawed into small pieces and tied with string
  • 115 gr. lean chopped beef
  • 1 calf foot, boned and blanched in boiling water
  • 115 gr. each butter and bacon rinds
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • bouquet garni (3 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig thyme and 1 bay leaf, tied together)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. each tarragon and chervil chopped
  • salt and pepper


  1. For the puff pastry:
  2. Mix the butter and the flour and lemon and salt into a paste, make a 6” square and chill on wax paper till firm
  3. Make the dough as you would pasta, knead very sparingly and refrigerate.
  4. Make the dough into a rectangle and put the butter in the center in a diamond… fold the dough around it like an envelope, bringing the 4 outer points to the center of the butter. If it’s hot, chill. Otherwise roll it to a rectangle and fold it like a brochure and chill ½ an hour. Roll it out to a rectangle again and do it again 5 times, resting for 45 minutes to an hour in the fridge each time.
  5. Leave overnight after the last turn and roll it out the next day. After cutting the rounds, put it back in the fridge for an hour.
  6. Marinate the quail in ½ c of Madeira and cognac overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425º. Cut 4 5-inch rounds from the pastry. Make a 3-inch circle in the center of each round, being careful not to cut to the bottom of the dough. Do not twist and turn the dough. If you do you will lose your loft on the pastry. The cleaner the movement, the higher the pastry will rise.
  8. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes with a piece of parchment on top of the pastries—this helps them rise straight… don’t ask me how. Remove the top parchment and continue to bake 7- 10 more minutes after turning the heat down to 375º or until puffed and golden. Carefully lift out the 3-inch round from the center (you may need to cut a little) to create a nest with a top. Set aside to cool.
  9. ***
  10. For the Quail:
  11. In a heavy skillet melt the butter and in this lightly sauté the goose livers. When they are just beginning to brown, remove from the heat. Let cool for several minutes and dice the livers finely. Add the diced truffles and moisten with 2 Tbsp. of the Madeira wine. Mix gently but well and with this salpicon, stuff the birds.
  12. Wrap each bird in a piece of muslin cloth, folding the head under a wing. Poach the birds in the game stock for about 15 minutes. Drain the birds and set them aside to keep warm.
  13. Strain the liqueur in which the quails were cooked. With a spoon remove most of the surface fat, and then, by running paper toweling over the surface, completely absorb the remaining grease. Reserve half of this stock for use in making the chaud-froid sauce. Return the other half of the stock to a saucepan, add the brandy and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame and let simmer until the stock is nearly jelly-like in consistency. Keep warm.
  14. When the chaud-froid sauce is ready take the following steps: (a) Transfer the birds to the pastry cases, with the heads protruding from the cases. (b) Gently spread the birds with the now jellied stock. (c) Coat the birds with the chaud-froid sauce. (d) On the breast of each bird place 1 large, thin truffle slice and three large grapes. (e) Serve on preheated plates and garnish lavishly with more truffle slices, pieces of gold leaf and marjoram leaves.
  15. Ideally serve this with the finest red Burgundy wine you can find. The wines of Clos de Vougeot or Romanee-Conti go splendidly with this dish.
  16. ***
  17. For the Game Stock:
  18. ***
  19. Note: As many of these ingredients are not always available, one may substitute brown meat stock (see recipe which follows later on) but with the addition of the white wine, peppercorns, juniper berries, and sage as listed in the following recipe.
  20. Prepare as for brown chaud-froid meat sauce (recipe which follows) but deglaze the pan after the meat and vegetables are browned with the white wine instead of water.
  21. ***
  22. For the Brown Chaud-Froid Sauce:
  23. ***
  24. This may be the most complex of all French sauces as it is dependent on the use of a brown stock, a jelly stock and two other sauces. Although time-consuming, it is not a difficult sauce to make. As I mentioned earlier, substitute recipes (which may be good but will not be great) may be found in many cookbooks. Any cook who goes all out and prepares the sauce in its original form will feel well rewarded. That is a promise.
  25. ***
  26. Arrange the meat, bones, carrots and onions on a roasting pan and place in the center of a very hot oven. Turn the ingredients occasionally and let brown for 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain the fat. Transfer the meat and vegetables to the soup kettle in which the stock will be prepared. Into the roasting pan pour 1 1/2 cups of water, place over a low flame and scrape off all of the coagulated browning juices that have stuck to the pan. Add these to the kettle.
  27. Pour over cold water to cover and bring to a bare simmer. Skim and then add the vegetables, bouquet garni and salt. Continue the bare simmer, partially covering the kettle, for 4 – 6 hours, adding boiling water if the liquids evaporate below the surface of the ingredients. Skim occasionally if necessary. When cooking is completed, discard the bouquet garni and strain the stock into a clean bowl. With a spoon remove most of the grease and degrease completely by absorbing the remaining fat with paper toweling.
  28. ***
  29. For the Sauce Brune:
  30. ***
  31. In a heavy saucepan melt the butter and in this slowly cook the vegetables and ham for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Into this mixture blend the flour and, over a moderately low flame, stirring constantly, cook for 8 – 10 minutes, until the flour has turned golden brown. Remove from the flame.
  32. Bring the stock to the boil and using a wire whisk rapidly whisk the beef stock into the mirepoix (the vegetable mixture).
  33. Beat in the tomato paste, add the bouquet garni and simmer gently, partially covered, for 2 – 3 hours, skimming as necessary and adding additional stock if the sauce becomes overly thick. When the sauce is done there should be about 4 cups and this should coat the spoon.
  34. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary and strain, pressing the vegetables with a wooden spoon to press out their liquids. Degrease the stock, first with a spoon and then with paper toweling). Set aside to keep warm (ideally in a double boiler, over but not in hot water).
  35. ***
  36. For the meat jelly stock:
  37. ***
  38. In a large heavy skillet brown the beef, veal and bones lightly in butter. Transfer to a large kettle and continue to brown together with the carrots, onions, leeks and celery. Pour over 9 cups of water.
  39. With a small amount of water dilute the juices in the skillet in which the meat was browned and add this to the stockpot. Bring to the boil, skim and add the bacon rinds and calf’s foot. Add the bouquet garni, season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 6 hours, skimming occasionally. Strain the stock through muslin.
  40. To the strained stock add the chopped beef, egg whites, tarragon and chervil. Whisk lightly over a moderate flame until the mixture is lukewarm. Carefully skim off all the fat. With strips of paper toweling blot off whatever fat remains on the surface. Bring to the boil, whisking constantly, and then lower the flame and simmer very gently for 35 minutes longer. Strain the remaining stock through several layers of lightly dampened muslin cloth.
  41. ***
  42. For the Chaud-Froid Sauce:
  43. ***
  44. In the saucepan, combine the remaining clear brown stock and the sauce brune. Boil down over a medium-high flame, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and add, a little at a time, the jelly stock. Boil down until the sauce is at a consistency where it can be used to coat the birds. Remove from the flame, stir in the Madeira and coat the birds.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Category: Recipes