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Recipe: Grilled Quail with Blueberries Two Ways

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes, Taste of the Landscape

Grilled Quail With Blueberries Two Ways
Serves 4
Game is often paired with fruit and Eschbach uses blueberries in two different ways to complement grilled quail. We are especially big fans of his semi-dried blueberries, which concentrate the berry’s sweet-tart flavor. He uses quail from Cavendish Game Birds in Springfield, which are distributed throughout Vermont and beyond. At 5 to 6 ounces apiece, a full serving is usually two per person. Ask your butcher for semi-boneless, leaving bones only in the drumstick and wings. If the quail are whole, simply use poultry shears or a good pair of scissors to cut out the backbone and open the quail up like a book to marinate and cook them. Bone-in quail will take a few minutes longer to cook. Alternately, you can make this recipe with bone-in chicken legs (thigh plus drumstick), marinating for about 1 hour total and cooking them first on direct heat and then moving off direct heat, turning occasionally, for a total of about 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees.
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For semi-dried blueberries
  1. 2 cups fresh blueberries
  2. 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
For fresh blueberry sauce
  1. 2 cups fresh blueberries
  2. Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  3. ¼ cup sugar
  4. ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  5. A few grinds of fresh pepper
For quail
  1. 1 cup soy sauce
  2. 2 lemons, juiced to yield about ½ cup juice
  3. ½ cup olive oil
  4. 1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary
  5. 8 semi-boneless quail with wing tips clipped at the second joint
  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Toss the blueberries with maple syrup or honey. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with lightly oiled parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and spread berries out in one layer. Bake 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until berries are collapsed and slightly chewy, but still a little moist. (Time will vary based on the size of berries.) The semi-dried berries can be prepared several days ahead and kept refrigerated.
  2. Combine blueberries, lemon zest and juice, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir, gently mashing blueberries with a wooden spoon until some are completely mashed. Stir in salt and pepper. Let sit while you prepare the quail.
To make the quail
  1. In a large baking dish, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and rosemary. Place the quail in the marinade for 10 minutes and then turn the quail to marinate on the other side for another 10 minutes.
  2. Use oiled paper towel to lightly oil your grill rack and preheat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal grill to cook on medium-high heat. Remove the quail from the marinade and lightly pat with paper towel to remove excess marinade. Cook the quail on the grill, turning and basting with extra marinade once, about 4 minutes per side. Do not overcook the quail. (Alternately, sear quail in a little olive oil in a heavy sauté pan set over medium-high heat for about 4 to 6 minutes per side. Allow them to get nicely brown before turning them and cook in batches so as not to crowd the quail.) Allow quail to rest for a few minutes before serving with steamed basmati rice tossed with the semi-dried blueberries and chopped herbs. Spoon the fresh blueberry sauce on top of the quail.
Adapted from executive chef Paul Eschbach, The Hermitage Inn, West Dover
Adapted from executive chef Paul Eschbach, The Hermitage Inn, West Dover
Vermont Life Magazine
Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at and follow her on Twitter at

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