Fennel Roasted Quail

Seasons: spring
Fennel Roasted Quail - Fresh On The Menu Recipe
  • 4 quail, cleaned and spatchcocked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 large heads of Certified SC Grown fennel (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth


By Chef Amethyst Ganaway

Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Fennel is beloved by chefs and a bit daunting to home cooks, but don’t let the anise- or licorice-like flavor scare you. When roasted, fennel caramelizes and takes on a new, rich and slightly sweet flavor. Paired with quail, this dish feels decadent and even a little fancy, but it’s one that’s easy to make. This recipe is super simple and can be adapted to put on cornish hens, chicken, and even fish. By adding fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano or dry seasonings like a poultry blend, you can enjoy fennel in a way that’s subtle and not overpowering. If you’re looking for quail, check out South Carolina quail farm Manchester Farms, which is available in grocery stores across the state.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the quail into a large bowl and pat both sides of the birds dry with paper towels. Dispose of the paper towels and coat the quail with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and all of the kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Set aside.
  2. On a stable cutting surface, slice off the bottom end of each fennel bulb, as well as the green shoots and fronds, discarding the bottom and setting the shoots and fronds aside. Slice the fennel in half, then slice into pieces 1/2 inch wide, like you would an onion.
  3. In a large oven safe baking dish, layer the sliced fennel on the bottom and then drizzle the remaining olive oil over it. Place the seasoned quail on top of the fennel, arranging so that the birds lay flat. This will ensure even cooking and crispy skin. Last, pour 1 cup of the stock or broth into the dish before placing it in the oven.
  4. Let the quail and fennel cook for about 15 minutes, then raise the temperature in the oven to 400F. Carefully remove the dish from the oven and pour the remaining stock or broth into the pan. Spoon the cooking liquid and fennel on top of the birds to baste them and put them back in the oven to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the birds are golden brown and have reached an internal temperature of 165F. Serve the quail and fennel over rice, mashed potatoes, or grits/polenta and garnish with fennel fronds for an extra pop of color and fennel flavor.

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