This delicious dish of quails cooked in white wine with peas comes from the Marche. It is definitely the recipe for anybody who has wanted to try quails but has never known how, or wondered if they were a bit tricky. The Marche can boast many wonderful wines, but none is more famous than the Verdicchio from the town of Iesi; if possible, use it in the dish and drink it with the finished result. An alternative to quails is poussins or chicken breasts. Serve with boiled new potatoes and a green vegetable.
Check over the quails, removing any remaining feathers. Wash and dry them (or the chicken breasts or poussins, if using), then put them in a shallow flameproof casserole with half the ham or bacon fat. Brown carefully all over, add a little wine and begin to cook them, covered, adding more wine as you go along. After about 15 minutes, add the tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and continue to cook for a further 10–15 minutes.
In a separate pan, cook the peas with the rest of the fat and the water until soft. Then add the peas to the quails, mix together thoroughly, heat through for 5 minutes and serve at once.
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