Quail with Calvados Sauce from our France Cooking Vacation

November 19, 2020  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
Filed Under

Cooking class in southern FranceA sauce can make or break a dish. It’s affects the flavor of everything that’s put into it. Not to mention, it’s also delicious all on its own, particularly when sopped up with bread. If you’re looking for a fun recipe to make this weekend to help warm up your kitchen and your belly, try this boned and stuffed quail recipe from the chefs of our Cooking in Gascony culinary vacation.

The recipe includes directions on how to make everything from the stock to the sauce, and everything in between. With its ingredients, it’s also a classic French dish that’s sure to impress dinner guests. Plus, with the lack of measurements? It’s basically ‘to taste’! If you’d like to see how Chef David does it firsthand, be sure to plan a trip to Gascony.

See all our cooking vacations in France.

Quail with Calvados Sauce

Serves 2
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Cook method: Roast


  • 2 quails

Cooking inGasconyStuffing ingredients

  • 1 dessert apple, chopped
  • 60 grams bacon
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Lemon zest (fine)
  • Sage, chopped
  • Juniper berries (crushed)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Egg to bind

Game stock ingredientsQuail ready for cooking during a cooking lesson in France.

  • Quail carcass
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Thyme
  • Parsley stalks
  • Bay leaf
  • Peppercorns
  • Cold water

Sauce ingredients

  • Shallots
  • Mushrooms
  • Leek, chopped
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Tomato puree
  • 50 ml Calvados
  • 100 ml dry cider
  • Red wine
  • Reduced game stock
  • Seasoning

Quail in calvados sauce1. Start by removing the bones from the quail while leaving the leg and wing bones attached.
2. Make the stock. To do this, brown the quail bones and vegetables in a bit of oil. Pour off the excess fat. Add the water and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Skim the surface regularly and gently simmer. Strain and reduce.
3. Next, time to make stuffing! Slice a few apple slices and sauté until they’re golden. This will be used for a garnish.
4. Finely dice the rest of the apple, and finely chop the bacon. Gently sauté the bacon and add in the diced apple; cook this for about 1 to 2 minutes. Combine the bacon and the apple with the crumbs, lemon zest, crushed juniper berries, chopped sage, salt, and pepper. Bind all of this together with a little beaten egg, and allow to cool.
5. Stuff the quail. To do this, pull the skin together underneath, and then secure with cocktail sticks. Arrange the quail back into shape and truss. Brown the quail on all sides in hot oil then season. Transfer to the oven (at 200°C/395°F) and roast for about 20 minutes. Once done cooking, allow it to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place. Remove the cocktail sticks and string.
6. Now on to the sauce! Reduce the stock to about 150 ml and then reserve. Cook the shallots, leek, mushrooms, and garlic in a bit of butter until they soften. Add the tomato puree, stir in the cider, and reduce this by half. Add the calvados and reduce a bit more. Stir in the stock and simmer until it becomes syrupy. Strain, and then season.
7. Place the quail over the sauce, and enjoy!

For more recipes, be sure to visit our archives, where you will find such French recipes as Honey-Roasted Pork with Chestnut Confit and Ballotine de Poulet (Stuffed Chicken Ballotine). To learn more fabulous dishes like this directly from the chef, take a peek at our French cooking vacations.

Check out some more great quail recipes:

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