Quail Roast with Thyme, Rosemary and Lemon

Simple and Special: Roast Quail

Such a simple dish, yet so impressive. A few quails seasoned with herb butter and roast in the oven . That is all it takes to put a stunning main course on the table.

I served this delicate spring time dish as part of dinner party celebrating lent. (Actually I also served this dish in the middle of winter to celebrate the Christmas season, but let’s keep that to ourselves).


(only slightly adapted from the recipe found on the blog zap)
Serves 4

For the herb butter:
40g butter
2 tsp thyme leaves
2 tsp picked rosemary
1 garlic clove
salt, pepper

For the quail:

4 quails, cleaned, rinsed, pat dry
1 lemon
4 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
(garlic) oil
salt, pepper


First prepare the herb butter. You can do this in advance, even the day before.

  1. Finely chop the herbs and garlic.
  2. Mix well with butter.
  3.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Next prepare the quail. It should not sit for too long before being cooked but you can prepare this slightly in advance.

  1. Using your fingers make little pockets under the skin of the quails ‘breasts.
  2. Set about ¼ of the butter t the side. Spread the remaining butter evenly under the skin.
  3. Cut the lemon into four wedges.
  4. Stuff the lemon and herb twigs into the bird. Leave the ends of the twigs sticking out so you can remove them (You can also tie together the herbs with some kitchen string).
  5. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.
  6. Place the quails in a roasting tin. Brush with oil.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

To kook

  1. Heat the oven to 200C (95F).
  2. Roast the quail for about 15-25 minutes the thickest part is 70C (160F). The juices should run clear but the meat is allowed to be a little pink.
  3. Remove from the oven and wrap in tin foil. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove herbs and lemon and serve.

Serve with

  • Pea Quenelles
  • Potato Gratin

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