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Jody Adam's Cider-Braised Quail

Adams serves these plump cheese-stuffed quail over a bed of warm sauteed cabbage. You can make a simple rendition of her cabbage at home by sauteing half a small head of thinly sliced white cabbage with 1 thinly sliced, peeled medium white onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. Cook the vegetables until soft and caramelized and season with salt and pepper.

4 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
10 quail
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 rib celery, diced
1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained
1 tablespoon horseradish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth

Bring the cider to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil the cider until it has reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Place 1/2 cup of the reduced cider in a lidded container and refrigerate for later use. Stir the mustard into the remaining 1/2 cup reduced cider and let cool.

Place the quail in a small baking dish with the cider-mustard marinade. Toss the birds to coat, seal the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. Stir in the mascarpone cheese, thyme, peppercorns, and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.

Line a jellyroll pan with wax paper. Using a soupspoon, form the mascarpone mixture into 10 oval dumplings, placing each one on the wax paper as you form it and spacing them about 2 inches apart. Place the pan in the freezer and freeze the dumplings until they are completely solid, about 4 hours.

When ready to serve the quail, remove them from the marinade and season them inside and out with salt and pepper. Place a frozen cheese dumpling in the cavity of each bird and thread a toothpick through the skin on either side of the openings at each end to "sew" them shut.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the quail, breast side down, and cook for 6 minutes. Turn the birds over, cover the pan, and cook them for another 6 minutes, or until the juice runs pink when the thigh meat is pierced with a sharp knife. Transfer the birds to a platter, cover, and keep warm. Place the skillet again over medium-high heat and add the chicken broth and reserved 1/2 cup of reduced cider, scraping the pan to loosen any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom. Let the mixture bubble until it has reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove the toothpicks from the quail and place 2 on a dinner plate. Spoon the sauce over the birds.

Serves 5.

By Victoria Abbott Riccardi, Globe Correspondent

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