For the Mushrooms
To prepare the stuffing, in a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and wine and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chives and parsley, season with the salt and pepper, and stir well. Remove from the heat, remove and discard the thyme sprig, and set aside.
For the Polenta
To make the polenta, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the salt and then slowly add the polenta in a very thin, steady stream while whisking constantly. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking every couple of minutes, until the polenta is thick and pulls away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese, season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Cover to keep warm.
For the Roasted Quail
While the polenta is cooking, begin preparing the quail. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Open the cavity of a quail and season the cavity with some of the salt and pepper. Using a paring knife, make a 1/2-inch-wide slit through the right thigh near the bone. Generously stuff the cavity with the mushroom mixture, then push the left leg through the slit in the right thigh as far as it will go. This will close up the cavity and prevent the stuffing from falling out. Season the quail on all sides with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining quail.
Select an ovenproof sauté pan or frying pan that will accommodate all of the quail without crowding and place over medium-high heat. When the pan is quite hot, add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, place the quail, breast side down, in the pan and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the birds over, transfer the pan to the oven, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh reads 155°F, about 10 minutes. Transfer the quail to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Pour off any excess fat from the pan, return the pan to the stove top over medium-high heat, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until the garlic starts to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the brandy, light a long match, and hold it just above the contents of the pan to ignite the fumes. When the flames subside, add the thyme and the Pinot Noir and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small warmed pitcher, add the parsley, and cover to keep warm.
Swiss Chard and Acorn Squash
While the quail are roasting, prepare the squash and chard. In a large sauté pan or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring often, until soft but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to a plate and keep warm. Add the red onion to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chard and cook, stirring and tossing, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Return the squash to the pan, stir to mix, and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place a large spoonful of polenta onto the center of each warmed dinner plate. Top the polenta with the squash and chard and crown with a quail. Drizzle with the sauce and serve immediately.
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