Sautéed Quail Breasts and Thighs en Civet


by: Pat Man Kitchen

If you cut up the quail ahead of time, there is no last-minute carving. You can even brown the breasts, skin side down, ahead of time and then roast them in the oven just before serving. The "en civet" means that you are including the giblets in the sauce by pureeing them with butter in a food processor and working the butter through a strainer. If you don't want to bother with all the sauce-making advice, just sauté the breasts and thighs until they are firm to the touch (unlike squab, quail is a white meat and is cooked to the same doneness as chicken) and serve them as they are. Makes 8 first-course or 4 main-course servings.


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serves: 4

8 quail (with giblets)



3 tablespoons olive oil

Optional Sauce

1 leek (white part only, cleaned, or onion, cut in half)

1 carrot (peeled and thinly sliced)

Bouquet garni

1 quart brown chicken broth (or more as needed to cover)

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh parsley (finely chopped at the last minute)

Nutrition Facts
Sautéed Quail Breasts and Thighs en Civet

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 715

  • Total Fat: 43.5 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 14.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 172 mg
  • Sodium: 23131.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 22 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
  •     Sugars: 18.3 g
  • Protein: 56.7 g

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1.  Cut the breasts and thighs off the bone. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and refrigerate until needed. If the heads are still on, cut off and discard. Take the giblets - livers, hearts, gizzards - out of the cavities and reserve for the sauce, or sauté and give to the cat. If making the sauce, preheat the oven to 400°F. Chop each carcass into a couple of pieces with a cleaver. Put the carcasses, leek, and carrot in an ovenproof sauté pan just large enough to hold everything in a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes, or until well browned but not until the juices burn on the pan bottom. Transfer the carcasses and vegetables to a saucepan and add the bouquet garni. Place the sauté pan on the stove top, add 1 cup of the broth, and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add to the saucepan. Then add enough broth to cover the carcasses, bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for 3 hours. Strain through a fine - mesh strainer into a clean saucepan, and discard the bones and vegetables. Simmer the strained broth until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Set aside.

2.  Put the reserved giblets and the butter in a mini food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor as needed. If you don't have a mini food processor, chop the giblets with the butter until very fine, and then force the mixture through a medium- or fine-mesh strainer or a drum sieve with the back of a spoon. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

3.  Ten minutes before serving, select a sauté pan large enough to hold the quail breasts and thighs in a single layer, add the oil, and heat over high heat. When the surface of the oil begins to ripple, add the breasts and thighs skin side down and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until well browned. Turn and brown on the other side for about 1 minute, or until the meat feels firm to the touch. Transfer to a warmed platter or plates.

4.  To finish the sauce, pour the burned fat out of the pan, return to medium heat, and add the 1/2 cup reduced broth. Bring to a simmer and whisk in the giblet butter and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and spoon over the breasts and thighs.

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