Braised Wild Quails and Brandy Pancetta “Nido Si Quaglie”

By Chef Alessandro Di Maggio

Chef Alessandro DiMaggio is a native of France, but is a part of a large Italian family with origins from Sicily and Tuscan. This dish is rich and delicious, and pancetta offers the perfect Italian flair. Pancetta is an Italian bacon made of pork belly meat that is salt cured and spiced with black pepper and sometimes other spices. Pancetta in Italy is often consumed chilled and raw, but here it will be wrapped over the Quail and become warm and crispy.

The Brandy will help curb the gaminess of the Quail, but the secret of perfect, tender Quail is to cook it quickly. Butterflying the Quail also ensures the meat is cooked evenly. The juices should run clear, and that is a signal that the meat is at the perfectly cooked temperature. Don’t be intimidated by cooking Quail, as it truly is a delicious treat! Enjoy!

Braised Wild Quails, Brandy Pancetta Sauce
over Crispy Leeks

4 Quail breasts, cut butterfly
6 oz. Pancetta or Bacon
4 oz. Brandy
1 oz. Flour
1 oz. Sage
2 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Roma Tomatoes
1 Cup Chicken Broth


  1. Wrap the Quails with the Pancetta or Bacon, and season them with a little salt, pepper, and flour.
  2. In a casserole with a little oil, medium heat, cook the Quails two minutes on each side, giving a nice brown color.
  3. Add the Brandy, let it evaporate a little, then add sage, a diced Roma tomato, and the chicken broth.
  4. Cover, reduce heat, and let it cook for another 20 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Meanwhile, julienne the leeks lengthwise, mix it with a little flour, and deep fry until crispy.
  7. On a serving plate, put the fried leek first (such as a bird’s nest with a hole in the center), put one or two Quails in the middle and a little sauce over the top. Garnish with some herbs.

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