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Fig-and-Balsamic-Glazed Quail

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl
Hands-on time 20 mins
Total time 1 hr, 15 mins

Makes 8 servings

Call ahead to be sure your butcher has quail on hand. For a delicious alternative to quail, use Cornish hens and follow our directions under "Try This Twist!" below.


  • 1 (11.5-oz.) jar fig preserves
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons country-style Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 8 (3.5-oz.) semi-boneless quail
  • Kitchen string
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Reserve half of fig mixture; cover and chill. Let remaining fig mixture stand at room temperature.

  2. Tie ends of quail legs together with string.

  3. Place quail on an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan or in a shallow roasting pan, and sprinkle with salt.

  4. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Brush quail generously with room-temperature fig mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 400°. Bake quail 30 minutes or until leg meat is no longer pink, basting with fig mixture every 10 minutes.

  5. Place reserved chilled fig mixture in a small saucepan; stir in red wine, and cook over low heat, stirring often, 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve quail with sauce.

  6. Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step Cover and chill up to 8 hours. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before proceeding with Steps 4 and


  8. Fig-and-Balsamic Glazed Cornish Hens: Substitute 4 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-lb.) Cornish hens for quail. Prepare Step 1 as directed; omit Step Rinse hens with cold water, and pat dry. Place hens, breast sides down, on a cutting board. Cut hens through backbone using kitchen shears to make 2 halves. Proceed with recipe as directed in Steps 3 through 5, increasing second bake time (at 400°) to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Hands-on time: 20 min.; Total time: 1 hr., 40 min.