Roasted Quail Stuffed with Fig & Prosciutto

Yield 4
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 1 dried fig, diced small
  • 2 shallots, divided use (1 minced, 1 sliced thin)
  • ¾ cup Port, divided use
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 ounce chicken livers, trimmed
  • 4 ounces fresh ground pork sausage meat (forcemeat)
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 pounds spinach, rinsed and trimmed, divided
  • 1 package Semi-Boneless Quails
  • 4 Black Mission figs, stems removed
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, or Jambon de Bayonne
  • 2 tablespoons Duck Fat
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, as needed


  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch baby turnips, washed, trimmed, peeled and quartered
  • 1 bunch red radishes
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Recipe notes
This stuffed quail recipe from Chef Daniel Boulud combines Black Mission figs, fresh forcemeat and salty prosciutto for delicious results.
RECIPE Preparation
  1. Make the stuffing: Soak the fig and minced shallot in 1/4 cup of the port wine for at least 5 hours. Heat a small sauté pan with a thin layer of oil over high heat. Season the chicken liver with salt and pepper. When the pan is quite hot, add the chicken liver and sauté until browned, but not cooked through; remove and set aside. Add reserved port with the fig and shallot and simmer until almost dry; cool livers and finely chop. In a medium bowl, combine chicken livers, port reduction, pork sausage meat and cinnamon with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Reserve; chilled.
  2. Prepare the spinach: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil; set a bowl of ice water on the side. Boil 1 pound of the spinach leaves for a few seconds, and then immediately chill in the ice water. Make 4 flat discs of spinach by delicately opening the leaves and laying them on a piece of parchment paper; slightly overlapping to make 4-inch-diameter circles.
  3. Stuff the qail: Lay the quail on a cutting board breast side down and using a paring knife, delicately trim the two tenderloins out of the inside of each quail without piercing the skin. Move the tenderloins to the back of the quail to evenly distribute the meat and protect the skin. Season the quails with salt and pepper on all sides and in the middle. Wrap one spinach disc around each fig, divide the sausage mix into 4 equal portions and shape around the figs. Finally, wrap each fig in prosciutto, and then place one portion into the cavity of each quail. Using the palms of your hands, re-shape the quails back to their original form, cross the legs, and tuck the wings behind the back.
  4. Roast the quail: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and place rack on the bottom. Form sturdy rings with 4 pieces of aluminum foil around each quail to hold its natural shape. Heat a large sauté pan with the duck fat and sear the quail on all sides until golden brown; then transfer to the oven skin side up. Bake for approximately 7-10 minutes, basting at least twice; until browned and cooked through. Rest at room temperature for 3-4 minutes before serving.
  5. For the glazed vegetable garnish: In a large sauté pan, bring the chicken stock and butter to a light simmer then add the turnip, radish, thyme, garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until vegetables are tender and glazed (add more water if needed while reducing). Discard thyme and garlic; check seasoning and reserve warm.
  6. For the sautéed spinach: Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add remaining pound of spinach, remaining garlic clove and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté until spinach is wilted and cooked. Discard garlic, check seasoning; reserve warm.
  7. Sauce: In a small pot, reduce 1/2 cup of port, fig and sliced shallot to 1/3 of the volume. Add demi-glace and bring to a simmer until reduced by 1/3. Check seasoning and keep warm.
  8. To plate: For each serving, place a spoonful of spinach in the center of a warm dinner plate. Place roasted quail on top and arrange glazed vegetables around. Drizzle with sauce and serve immediately.