Stuffed quail

This dish takes a while to make – mostly because you have to stuff each quail, tie it and roll it in bacon. But it is sumptuous and surprising to dinner guests because you don’t get to taste quail that often.

serves: 8        difficulty: complex      prep time: 60 – 90 min


  • 8 semi-boneless quails. Many specialty stores sell quails semi-boneless – i.e. only the leg bones are left.
  • 16 strips very thinly sliced bacon. Ask your butcher for prosciutto-thickness slices from the slab.
  • 1 tbs canola or vegetable oil

for the stuffing

  • + 1 more quail or 1/4 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 tbs canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2/3 cup rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3-5 sprigs of thyme
  • [optional] 4 tbs sun dried tomatoes
  • [optional] 2 tbs pinenuts
  • 2 tsb olive oil


First prepare the stuffing. For the stuffing you will need some meat. You can either debone one of the quails and mince the quail meat (if you have a meat grinder), or you can simply buy 1/4 lbs ground chicken. In this case I did the former.


Heat canola or vegetable oil in a fry pan, and fry the minced meat until it browns. As you are browning the meat, use a fork or spatula to break the minced meat into bits – the way you would do if you were making tacos.


Dice the onions as explained in the plain risotto post.


Heat the olive oil in a fry pan, and sauté the onions until translucent. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the rice and the chicken stock.


Cook until the liquid has been almost absorbed. If the rice has not cooked yet, add more stock. Once the rice has cooked al dente, add the browned minced meat and stir well.


Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add to the mixture. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, if using them. Season with 1/2 tbs sea salt and ground pepper.  The stuffing is ready.

Wash the quails and pat them dry. Season them with sea salt and pepper.


Using kitchen twine, tie the neck side of the quails so that you can stuff them.


With a small spoon, stuff the cavity of the quails with the stuffing.


Fold the legs of the quail over the back of the bird. At that point the stuffed quail will resemble a pocket.

Next you will wrap each stuffed quail in bacon. This technique is explained in detail in the venison roulade recipe. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on your counter space. Place two strips of bacon on the plastic wrap so that they overlap by about 1/4 inch. Place a quail at the end of the bacon strips.


Roll the qual wrapping it in bacon to form a roulade. Then tie the bacon roll at both ends with kitchen twine.


The stiffed quails are ready to be cooked. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat canola or vegetable oil in a fry pan. Add the quails and reduce the heat to medium. Once the bacon is crispy on one side, turn the quail rolls. Repeat until the bacon is crisp all around.



Finish them in the oven for 4-5 min. Take out of the oven, place on aluminum foil sheet, and cover with another aluminum foil  sheet and let rest for 3-5 min. While the quails are resting, deglaze the pan with some red wine.


Carefully remove all kitchen twine.


Then slice each quail roll in the middle.


Pour a spoonful of the red wine sauce on the plate, and place the two quail slices. Serve with a side of cooked greens.



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