1 pound boned chicken breast, all skin and sinews removed
1 egg white
2 tablespoons brandy
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
6 ounces foie gras, cut in 3/4 inch dice
1 pound black trumpet mushrooms
1/2 pound spinach, blanched, chopped, and squeezed as dry as possible
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
6 boneless quail, available from specialty butchers, wings removed
6 slices bacon
2 1/2 cups rich meat stock
Make the filling: Put the chicken, the egg white, and the brandy in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the processor running, add the cream in a thin stream, then the salt and pepper and a few gratings of nutmeg, and process until all is well combined. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and, using a rubber spatula, gently mix in the remaining filling ingredients, reserving half the braised mushrooms for the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Using a pastry bag with a 3/4 to 1-inch opening, squeeze the filling mixture into the cavities of the quail, restoring their whole, plump shape. Lay the quail on their backs and cross their legs to close in the stuffing. Starting at the head end, wrap a piece of bacon around the sides of the quail and back to the head end to cover both openings. The quail will look as if they are lying in a bed of bacon. Tie the bacon in place with string, wrap a little piece of foil around the quails' legs to keep them from burning, and place the quail on a rack in a roasting pan, alternating filling-side up and filling-side down.
Roast the quail for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, remove the quail to a platter, and let them rest in the turned-off oven while you make the sauce. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan, leaving any pan juice behind. Add the reserved braised mushrooms and the meat stock to the pan, stir well, and transfer to a saucepan. Reduce to 1 1/2 cups.
Using a very sharp slicing knife, carefully cut each quail in half lengthwise down the center and arrange the halves on the platter. Spoon half the sauce on and around the quail and serve the rest in a sauceboat.
bacon recipe courtesy of: The Hudson River Valley Cookbook: A Leading American Chef Savors the Region's Bounty by Waldy Malouf. Harvard Common Press, 1998