Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus, Cranberry, Cherry Quail

by Marla on March 1, 2013 · 19 comments

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Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus, Cranberry, Cherry Quail | recipe on

Want to impress someone? Serve ’em quail. Want to not impress someone? Serve ’em quail

Before we begin this culinary adventure we need to understand a few things. I am a teeny tiny gal  ~ Quail are teeny tiny little birdies. When skiing, I pretend I know how to fly. A quail obviously can fly. Those are two things we kinda have in common.

I eat more than the average bear. I have no idea how much a quail eats. What I’m sure of is, that up until this experience…..after a quail dinner I have been left wanting to eat a bear. Or an elk. Or anything of size.

Amazing how not so good experiences can leave their marks…that is until rays of light strike and revelations are brought to life.

I am forever changed….

Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus, Cranberry, Cherry Quail | recipe on

So what’s all this change  you wonder. From a little quail birdie? Sure, why not. Life’s biggest changes happen when you least expect ’em. Unexpected, unfathomable life experiences.

Nothing like a chiller winters day, a crackling fire and comfort food like this steaming up the kitchen.

And a drink in a ball jar…

Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus Cherry Quail | recipe on

Until now, it was all lost on me…how simply wonderful these birdies taste. I had two experiences with uninspiring restaurant quail fare. Quite the opposite from this dreamlike culinary treat.

So, what happens when you combine oh so delicate quail with maraschino cherries, cranberries and citrus? Oh. OH. You need to taste it to understand. Squeeze some citrus over the top and squeal…let your fingers play a part in this too.

Fork….fingers, fingers….fork.

Sweet, savory….savory, sweet….tangy…..JOY.

Winter in Minnesota |

In this dish you will be transported to the forest….a flight of flavors that dance in your mouth. Elegance meets rustic charm. Quail is why I need to start hunting asap. I want to be able watch my bird soar in the open skies, to shoot that very bird….and then….I want to enjoy it for dinner.

Flights of Fancy.

Thats the kinda gal I am. A little fancy, obsessed with the outdoors and awestruck by pretty things that fly in the sky.

Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus, Cranberry, Cherry Quail | recipe on

Remember the Smashed Squash recipe?

Yet again this dish was crafted by my talented outdoorsy pal who hunts & fishes. The quail was a trade for somethin he caught. Maybe it was a brook trout swap. Perhaps sweet honey bee nectar. Not sure what he bartered to score these fine little birdies ~ but obviously somethin’ pretty fabulous.

The best news is that he shared ’em all with yours truly….

Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus, Cranberry, Cherry Quail | recipe on

A certain kinda magic happens when you combine savory ingredients with sweet ones. Magic like this.

Magic also happens when you share quail with friends. I suggest you try it sometime….

Oh and don’t forget the ball jar.

Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus, Cranberry, Cherry Quail

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Flights of Fancy ~ Citrus, Cranberry, Cherry Quail


  • 16 Quail Breasts, de-boned
  • 1 cup fresh Cranberries
  • 8 ounces Mandarin Oranges with juice
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Brandy
  • Potato Flakes to thicken, if needed
  • 4 tablespoons Stuffing mix, dry
  • Orange, Lime, Lemon slices
  • Maraschino Cherries


  • In a large, non stick high sided skillet add olive oil, quail breasts, mandarin oranges and brandy ~ bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook 8-12 minutes, until the breasts are cooked through.
  • Add the cranberries. When they pop the sauce will thin a bit ~ add some potato flakes to thicken sauce (as needed, a few tablespoons.) Add a handful of seasoned stuffing mix. Stir. Let rest 5 minutes with the lid on.
  • Make your way around the serving dish....
  • sweet, sweet, tangy tangy

Quail Recipe Links

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria March 1, 2013 at 5:43 am

I am not the hunter type, but hats off to you:)


2 Marla March 1, 2013 at 5:56 am

Don’t worry Maria, we can find other things to do 😉


3 Cookin Canuck March 1, 2013 at 5:48 am

Simply gorgeous, Marla! Your description of this dish makes me want to run out and find some quail.


4 Marla March 1, 2013 at 5:55 am

Thank you Dara! I need to find me some more….XO


5 Rosa March 1, 2013 at 6:42 am

I love quail and that is a wonderful flavor combination!




6 Gaby March 1, 2013 at 7:28 am

You’re getting all crafty and savvy out in CO!!! Love it girl


7 Heather (Heather's Dish) March 1, 2013 at 7:45 am

I’d totally go hunting with you if I was still in Colorado! Beautiful!


8 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel March 1, 2013 at 8:14 am

Can we back up a minute to the part about you pretending that you can fly? Love that so much! lol


9 Julie @ Table for Two March 1, 2013 at 10:21 am

oh so fancy and delicious looking!!


10 Marian (Sweetopia) March 1, 2013 at 10:54 am

You’re so funny! Nice to have those thing in common with quail! ;-D
Besides the gorgeous photos, your description of this sweet and savoury dish makes me want to try it, pronto!


11 kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts March 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

Neat. Just very neat.

What was in the ball jar anyway, cuz I want some of that, too!


12 Kiran @ March 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I love this post! Makes me want to run out and get quails. Or fly!


13 Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I’ve never tried quail but I’m loving the sound of these flavors!


14 Kevin (Closet Cooking) March 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I so need to try quail!


15 Jenny Flake March 3, 2013 at 6:39 am

Beautiful Marla!!


16 zerrin March 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

What a combination! Never had quail before, but this post revealed the hunter inside me!


17 Oliver Denton March 4, 2013 at 5:36 am

Those jars make me want to stop work and go and sit on the porch. It’s 2.30pm so I probably shouldn’t…


18 Marla March 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

Ha! Me too ~ tho only 6:42 am here 😉


19 Andrea DiGeronimo March 5, 2013 at 9:06 am

Beautiful, playful, exciting post. Looks and sounds so delicious.

xxoo, andrea


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