Yield
Makes 6 servings

Notes: Use cornstarch for a more transparent sauce. Buy or order quail at the supermarket, or use 3 Cornish hens (about 1 3/4 lb. each), cutting each in half through the back and breastbone with scissors.

How to Make It

Step 1

Remove giblets and trim necks from quail; save for another use. Rinse birds, pat dry, and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Step 2

In a deep 11- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add as many birds as will fit in pan and brown on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Lift out as browned, put in a bowl, and add remaining birds and more butter, if needed, to pan. When all the birds are out of pan, discard fat.

Step 3

To pan, add cranberries, 1 cup water, brown sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Stir over high heat until simmering. Return birds and accumulated juices to pan.

Step 4

Cover and simmer over low heat, turning birds over after 10 minutes, until thighs are tender when pierced, 20 to 30 minutes total. With a slotted spoon, transfer birds to a warm platter.

Step 5

Smoothly blend flour with 2 tablespoons water, then mix into pan. Stir over high heat until sauce comes to a rolling boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, pour over birds, and garnish platter with watercress.

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