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Quail Braised on Red Grapes with Blood Sausage and Polenta

Treat your family and friends to this tasty quail dish by celebrity chef Paul Mercurio.


  • 6 quail – boned

  • ½ leek – finely diced

  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

  • ½ a chorizo sausage finely sliced

  • 1 piece of lemon rind

  • Pinch of saffron threads soaked in ¼ cup of warm water

  • ½ cup of chicken stock

  • 1 cup of Prosecco – Italian dry Champagne

  • 300g of red grapes – Crimson seedless are good

  • 12 slices of Blood sausage about 6mm thick rounds

  • 1 fresh bay leaf

  • Salt

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • Flour

  • Olive oil

  • For the Polenta

  • 1 litre of water

  • 1 tsp of salt

  • 1 cup of polenta

  • 2 fresh bay leaves


  • 1.

    Add the salt to the water and bring it to the boil.

  • 2.

    Slowly add in the polenta stirring all the time.

  • 3.

    Once all the polenta is in, add the two bay leaves and turn the heat down to a simmer.

  • 4.

    You will need to stir this regularly so as to not burn the bottom of the polenta.

  • 5.

    The polenta will take about 30 – 40 minutes to cook and thicken up.

  • 6.

    You can tell when it is ready when you stir the polenta and it comes away from the side of the pot. It should be quite thick.

  • 7.

    Pour the polenta into a large shallow rectangular baking dish and allow to cool and then put in the fridge for an hour or so.

  • 8.

    Once it has solidified tip it out of the dish and cut into rectangles about 3cm by 4 cms.

  • 9.

    Fry these in hot olive oil until golden and crisp on both sides.

  • 10.

    Make two per person.

  • 11.

    Season some flour with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and then dredge the boned quail in the flour shaking off excess.

  • 12.

    In a large deep sided fry pan on high heat on the stove top add some olive oil and then brown the quail in batches of three if your fry pan can fit them.

  • 13.

    Once browned set aside on a plate.

  • 14.

    In the same fry pan add a little more oil if needed (or in another fry pan that has high sides) and fry the leeks until soft.

  • 15.

    Add the garlic and chorizo and fry for a few minutes then add the lemon peel, saffron liquor and bring the sauce to the boil.

  • 16.

    Add the grapes and stir through before adding the chicken stock, Prosecco and the bay leaf.

  • 17.

    Bring back to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.

  • 18.

    Simmer for about 10 minutes allowing the flavours to combine and then add the quails burying them into the grapes so they are covered.

  • 19.

    Put a lid on the pan and continue to simmer until the quail are cooked – about 10 - 15 minutes.

  • 20.

    Once the quails are cooked remove them from the sauce and keep them warm.

  • 21.

    Put the blood sausage slices into the grape sauce and simmer until the sausage is hot. If sauce gets too thick, you can add a little Prosecco, chicken stock or even a little hot water to loosen it up.

  • To serve:

  • 1.

    Put two pieces of the fried polenta overlapping each other onto a plate, place one piece of blood sausage on top of the polenta and then a quail on top of that.

  • 2.

    Spoon some sauce and grapes over the quail and around the plate and place another piece of the Blood sausage on the plate.

  • 3.

    Serve with a side salad of bitter lettuce and sliced cucumbers dressed with a olive oil, balsamic, sugar and mustard dressing.

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