Roast Quail with Balsamic Reduction

Roast Quail with Balsamic Reduction

This was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day meal. Dainty roast quail, so small that a serving is two birds each. Precious. Adorable. Perfect for Valentines.

Perfect, yes, as long as your notion of a romantic meal includes eating with your hands and gnawing on bones as if you were in King Henry VIII’s court!

Unless you are as skillful with dinner knife as a surgeon is with a scalpel, the easiest way to eat a small bird such as a quail is with your fingers.

It is a messy affair, unless you can get your quail already “tunnel boned” in which the main body bones have already been removed. A bird prepared like this you can easily stuff and then just use a fork and knife to cut and eat.

Alas, although I was able to find quail (frozen) at each of the three stores we checked, they were all still fully bone-in. Which means fingers, and little bones, and messy, and primal.

Hmm, primal. Wait, maybe that’s not so bad after all for a romantic meal?

By the way, to eat the quail, the easiest thing to do is to pull off the legs and wings with your fingers (hard to do with a knife, we tried, not worth it).

If you want, you can use a fork and knife to carve away the breast meat. Carve it as you would a Thanksgiving turkey, using a sharp knife or steak knife running down one side of the center of the breast bone, and then along the rib cage. Or just pull the breast meat out with your fingers.


  • 4 whole quail
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar 

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