Pecan and fig stuffed quails with kumquats

Pecan and fig stuffed quails with kumquats

Recipe by Rachel Zammit Cutajar

Photo by Rachel Zammit Cutajar

Quails are a delicate game bird that are wonderful when perfectly roasted with crispy skin and tender juicy flesh. It can be somewhat intimidating to prepare as they are easily overcooked and become dry. The trick is to cook them quickly and allow them to rest before serving. Here they are paired with a delicious pecan and fig stuffing, which gives them a Christmas flair. If you’re planning on a festive meal for a just a few people, stuffed quails are the way to go.

Pecan and fig stuffed quails with kumquats

Serves 2


  • 4 quails
  • 8 kumquats
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • ½ small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 large dried figs
  • 6 kumquats, diced
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • ½ orange, juice and zest
  • Handful pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. 
  2. Start by making the stuffing. Dice the onion and fry in olive oil over medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  4. Add the figs, chopped kumquats and orange zest and fry for a few seconds.
  5. Add the brandy and the orange juice and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook until the figs are soft, then take off the heat and add the pecans and stir through.
  7. Stuff the quails with about 1 tbsp of stuffing each. Don’t over-stuff them.
  8. Tie the legs of the quails together and place in a baking tray with some onion wedges, garlic, thyme sprigs and remaining kumquats.
  9. Mix together the olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and cover the quails with half of the mixture. 
  10. Roast for 10 mins before basting with the remaining honey mixture.
  11. Cook for a further 20-30 mins until the birds are golden.
  12. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with mashed potatoes and roasted veg. 

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