Cavendish Game Birds



Home cooks love Cavendish Game Birds’ quail!

Kids love Quail!

They are easy to prepare and at approximately five ounces a piece they cook quickly. Quail is a versatile meat that pairs well with an abundance of flavors and lends itself well to grilling, sautéing, stir-frying, and oven roasting.

Whether it’s marinated, stuffed, or eaten as an appetizer or in salads, quail is naturally low in fat and has a well-rounded, delicate, and slightly sweet flavor.  They can be eaten with a knife and fork or as finger food.

Either way you slice them, quail are fun to eat and a welcome alternative to chicken!

Tips for Cooking Quail

1. Quail picks up flavors from marinades quickly. Be especially careful of marinades that are high in salt like teriyaki, or soy-based marinades.

2. Prior to roasting quail, sear them in a pan on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. This will seal in the juices and prevent them from steaming.

3. When roasting whole quail, leave adequate space around each bird. Crowding them tightly together in your baking dish or pan, will cause them to “steam” rather than roast in the dry heat.

4. To tell when a grilled quail is done, look at the little drumsticks. When the bare leg bone starts to show, the birds are done.

5. When stuffing boneless quail for oven roasting, avoid overfilling them, as the skin will naturally tighten up in the oven and the birds will regain their “round” whole bird appearance.


  Stuffed Vermont Quail

Serves: 1-6

1-6 semi-boneless Cavendish Game Birds Jumbo Vermont Quail
1 package of bread stuffing or your favorite recipe to equal 2 cups of prepared stuffing
Optional flavorings: celery, onions, herbs, mushrooms, cranberries, apples, pine nuts or pecans
Salt and pepper
Cooking oil

Preheat oven to 400°
Rinse and pat quail dry.
Season the cavity of the bird with salt and pepper
Prepare stuffing using ingredients of choice.

Fill each semi-boneless quail with 1 to 2 tablespoons of stuffing (avoid overstuffing them)
Season outside of bird with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pan.  Brown birds in medium-hot oil for 3-4 minutes per side, starting with breast side down (to seal in juices and prevent them from steaming)

Transfer quail to baking dish, breast side up, leaving adequate space around each bird (overcrowding causes them to steam rather than roast).

Bake approximately 15 minutes in 400° oven until bare leg bone starts to show on the little drumsticks.  Remove from oven, cover with foil tent to retain heat and rest for approximately 5 minutes before serving. Serve with accompaniments of your choice!

Courtesy of Chef Jason Tostrup of the Inn at Weathersfield
You may view a video of this preparation on the OUR VIDEOS page
4 servings

4 Vermont farm-raised jumbo quail, semi-boneless
2-3 pears, cored and sliced
6 bacon strips, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp Wood’s Cider Jelly *
¼ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
4 oz mixed greens or arugula
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Season both sides of the quail with salt and pepper. Using a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to pan. Place quail, breast side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Once browned on both sides remove from the pan and place on a plate to rest. Using the same pan, add bacon and cook until lightly browned, add pears and green onions and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Next add cider jelly and sherry vinegar to the pear/bacon mix, cook until pears are just soft and there is still liquid in the pan. Turn off heat.

Place salad green in bowl toss with olive oil and place on serving platter.

Next spoon pear mixture over greens and rest quail on top and serve.

Wine Suggestion and Chef’s Tips

  • I would serve a nice Oregon Pinot Noir or French Cote de Rhone
  • The combined prep and cooking time is under 25 minutes, even for the novice cook.
  •  This may be served family-style or individually depending on the occasion.
  • Buying large fresh quail from a small farm makes a notable difference versus a frozen product
  •  * You can find woods cider Jelly on the web at
  • Quail is as easy to cook as a chicken breast, but faster and less messy
  • No matter when you try this recipe, the quail from Cavendish Game Birds makes the dish superb!

6 servings

6 fresh Vermont farm-raised jumbo quail, whole
4-5 Tbsp vegetable oil

Marinade and Glaze
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel seed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cinnamon

2 lbs fresh spinach, cleaned and rinsed
2 medium red peppers
¼ cup pine nuts
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together ingredients for marinade and glaze. Pour over quail and turn to coat thoroughly. Cover and marinate quail at room temperature for 3 hours, turning occasionally.

Sear or pan roast red peppers in lightly oiled pan. Peel, seed, and cut into strips. Set aside.

Remove quail and reserve marinade. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Brown quail in vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, for 3-4 minutes per side. Arrange quail in skillet, or oven-proof dish, so quail are not touching one another. Brush quail liberally with reserved marinade. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, or until just barely pink at breast, brushing occasionally with marinade to glaze.

When cooked, remove quail and set aside to rest. In same pan, toast pine nuts in hot oil.  Add red peppers and sauté. Add a few tablespoons of reserved marinade and fresh spinach, cook just until spinach is wilted.

Place spinach mixture on plate, top with 1-2 roasted quail per serving. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

3-4 servings

6-8 fresh Vermont farm-raised jumbo quail, semi-boneless
½ lb ground veal
1 tsp sage, rubbed fine if leafy
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp flour
1 fresh lemon
½ cup olive oil
4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

Mix veal with chopped parsley, rubbed sage, beaten egg, and flour. Mix well. Stuff quail with meat mixture; push in well until quail puffs up from the mixture, but do not overstuff. Marinate the quail in olive oil and lemon juice overnight. Grill quail over a low charcoal heat for ½ hour, turning frequently. Try not to break skin; the quail are fragile. Put in oven for ½ hour at 325 degrees to finish. Baste quail with any oil and lemon marinade while they cook.

Note: Placing quail on too hot a grill may cause it to flame and flash up. Drain marinade off quail before cooking.

Delicious served with wild rice and asparagus.

6 servings

Cornbread  Stuffing
5 oz cornmeal
4 oz all purpose flour
2 oz sugar
½ tsp baking powder
pinch salt
½ tsp sage, ground
½ tsp thyme, ground
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 oz vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
2 oz butter
2 oz fresh scallions, diced
1 oz red peppers, diced
2 oz corn kernels, whole

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add milk, egg, and oil. Pour into a well greased 9-inch cake pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and break up cornbread. Sauté peppers, corn, and scallions in butter and add to cornbread, keep warm.

6 fresh Vermont-raised jumbo quail, butterfly cut
2 oz poultry stock
4 oz butter
1 oz white wine
6 sage sprigs
6 thyme sprigs

Sauté the quail in remaining 2 oz of butter, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove quail from heat and set aside. Deglaze pan with white wine, add stock and reduce to sauce consistency. Meanwhile, arrange cornbread stuffing on plates. Quarter quail and toss in sauce, and place over the cornbread stuffing. Garnish with sage and thyme sprigs.

Grilled Cavendish Quail and Napa Cabbage Salad 
Recipe Courtesy Windham Hill Inn, West Townshend, Vermont

6 servings

6 Vermont farm-raised quail, semi-boneless
2 quarts quail marinade (recipe follows)
2 Belgian endive
6 oz Napa cabbage, julienned
3 oz purple cabbage, julienned
6 oz thyme vinaigrette (recipe follows)

For the marinade:

2 qts water
4 Tbsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp white pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Remove the quail from their packages, rinse under cold water and marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator (not longer as can become too salty). Rinse again and allow to air-dry on a baking sheet, uncovered, in the refrigerator for one hour.

For the thyme vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, minced
pinch salt
3 oz rice wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup grape seed or canola oil
3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and reserve. The vinaigrette does not need to emulsify.


Season the quail with salt and fresh ground black pepper and grill on both sides over medium-high heat until the breast is slightly pink and the juices run almost clear. Allow to rest for five minutes.

Cut each endive in half length-wise, then each half into thirds length-wise. Blanche in boiling salted water while the quail are grilling.

Toss the cabbages with the vinaigrette and divide between six warm salad plates, placing a mound in the center of each. Place two pieces of endive on top of each mound. Slice each quail in half, place on top of the endive and serve.

3-6 servings

6 Vermont farm-raised jumbo quail, butterfly cut
olive oil
barbecue sauce of choice

Wash and pat quail dry. Rub with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place on hot grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. 

Brush liberally with barbecue sauce of choice, put lid on grill and cook 3 to 5 minutes more.

Quail are done when the bare leg bone starts to show on the little drumsticks.

Quail can also be sautéed in a pan over medium-high heat until golden brown on each side and placed in a 450 degree oven for 3-5 minutes until done, with or without barbecue sauce.


2 servings

4 Vermont farm-raised pheasant, boneless thighs
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium Spanish onions, diced (about 2 ½ cups)
½ tsp dried thyme
2 whole cloves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock, defatted
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup cooked white beans
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
Asiago cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, minced

Season pheasant thighs with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan (9-10”) over medium heat.
Add onion, thyme, cloves and garlic, and cook until onion softens, about five minutes.
Add thighs and cook until skin side is golden, turning once; about five minutes per side.
Drain off excess fat.
Whisk tomato paste into stock. Add to pot with wine and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for one hour.
Remove thighs and keep covered in warm oven.
Skim fat from liquid and increase to high heat.
Boil until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain and season to taste.
Scatter plates with white beans and rosemary. Arrange 2 thighs in center of each plate and pour over sauce. Garnish with freshly grated Asiago cheese and minced parsley.

Note: This recipe can easily be converted into a soup. Simply dice thigh meat and add back to liquid along with white beans and rosemary. Thin with chicken stock to desired consistency and taste. Season. Garnish with Asiago cheese and parsley.

2 servings

1 - two lb. Vermont farm-raised pheasant, whole
2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, vertically sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups gamebird or chicken stock
12 dried apricots, slivered
12 prunes, halved
¼ cup sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
chopped parsley

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan. Lightly brown pheasant on both sides, remove and set aside.

Add onions and garlic to pan, sauté until golden. Add stock, apricots, prunes, and sherry vinegar to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; return pheasant to pan and cover. Simmer 25-30 minutes until pheasant is cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bird from the pan. Reduce sauce to medium consistency. Pour over pheasant. Garnish with parsley. 

Goes well with white or wild rice with pistachios.

2 servings

2 Vermont farm-raised pheasant, boneless breasts
½ cup water
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Bring ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and dissolve brown sugar in it. Add raspberries and boil gently for five minutes. Press through a sieve to remove seeds, then stir in vinegar, salt and pepper.

Marinate pheasant breasts in raspberry sauce, refrigerated for a least two hours (and as long as overnight).

Drain pheasant, reserving marinade, and sauté in oil over medium heat for seven minutes on each side (or until no longer pink inside). Add marinade and turn meat several times to coat well with hot sauce and serve.

Enjoy with white or wild rice and vegetables of choice.

4 servings

4 Vermont farm-raised pheasant, boneless breasts
12 Tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dry Champagne (Brut) or dry white wine
3 Tbsp shallots, finely minced
¼ cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
parsley, minced

Lightly coat bottom of a large (9-10”) sauté pan with some of the butter. Remove skin from breasts. Place in pan, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add Champagne or white wine. Cover tightly. Poach breasts by simmering very gently three to four minutes per side, or until no longer pink inside. Remove breasts from pan, place on plate and wrap in aluminum foil to retain moisture, reserve in warm oven.

Increase heat to high, add shallots and cream to champagne or white wine, and reduce to 1/3 cup—about 7-8 minutes.  Reduce heat to very low and swirl in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat and strain out shallots. Season to taste.

Slice breasts on the bias and sauce lightly. Garnish with minced parsley.  Delicious with saffron rice and asparagus spears drizzled with lemon butter.


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Revised: November 14, 2007