Quail Stuffed with Sausage and Sage Sous Vide

Stuffing is, and depending where you live in the world, dressings or even, fillings are usually made up of a highly seasoned mix of vegetables and starches. Some versions utilize eggs and other proteins like pork, shrimp or even oysters. Stuffing historically is cooked within the body cavity of an animal and if its large like say a turkey, the stuffing is usually removed after cooking and served as a side dish. Now if the bird is small, like todays quail recipe the stuffing remains in the bird as a secret tasty treat.

Stuffed Quail Photo

Stuffing is generally full of richness like butter or in today’s case the porky, fatty, goodness that hails from the Italian sausage. This is not just tasty but keeps the bird moist during the prolonged cooking times. Dry heat cooking like baking or roasting would have the cook using a large spoon or bulb baster to retrieve the fatty juices as they continually render from the bird. This basting attempts to put those delicious juices back into the bird by a vigilant cook who’s constantly opening the hot oven to perform this necessary task time and time again.
As we have shown many times before the sous vide method throws all of that work and effort out the window as the slow cooking in the bag actually bastes the bird automatically with its own juices offering a wonderfully juicy and tasty dish with none of the angst. That all being said when the quail is removed from the bag it does look a bit anemic but not to fear for a simple crisping up under a hot broiler or the intense flame of a blowtorch makes all the difference!

stuffed quail picture


• 1/4 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

• 1/4 red bell pepper, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

• 1/4 onion, red, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

• 1 large garlic clove, shelled, cored and minced

• red chili flakes

• salt kosher

• 1/2 pound Italian sausage, mild, bulk

• 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

• 1/4 cup parmesan reggiano, grated

• 1 whole egg

• 1/2 bunch sage, fresh, finely chopped

• 4 semi-boneless quail 

stuffed quail ingredients

sausage stuffing photo

sausage stuffing picture


For the sausage stuffing:

1. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add the olive oil, fennel, red peppers, onions, garlic and crushed red pepper.

2. Season with salt to taste and cook the vegetables until they are soft and translucent about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the sausage, panko, parmesan, egg, sage and the cooled vegetables and blend thoroughly.

5. Pinch off a tablespoon or so of stuffing flatten a bit like a hamburger patty and quickly fry up in the vegetable pan on both sides until cooked through about 3-5 minutes

6. When cool enough to handle taste the stuffing patty and adjust the seasonings to your taste, reserve

For stuffing and cooking the quail:

1. Fill and preheat the VacMaster SV1 to 154°F/68°C

2. Remove the “V” shaped wires from the quail and discard

3. Divide the stuffing into fourths and form the mixture into round balls.

4. Gently place one ball of stuffing mixture into the center each quail being careful not to tear the skin.

5. Using your hands gently cup each quail lightly to reform the birds in a neat and compact shape and evenly disperse the stuffing.

6. Using a VacMaster chamber or suction machine seal appropriate sized “resealable” VacMaster pouches while empty, when process is complete open the empty pouches and gently place one quail inside.

7. With the bag on a work surface and with the quail breast side up place your hands around the quail and gently form the stuffed bird one last time to make a neat compact package.

8. Using your thumb and index fingers seal bags, leaving one-inch open at the top corner.

9. Slowly lower bags one at a time into pot of water by holding onto the open corner. Press air out of bag as it is submerged and seal bag just before last corner is submerged.

10. Gently place the quail pouches in SV1 and cook for 30-60 minutes.

For finishing the quail:

1. Remove quail from pouches, pat dry.

2. Place the quail breast down on a heat proof skillet or platter and using a blowtorch caramelize the surface.

3. Turn the quail breast side up and repeat with the blowtorch until the quail skin is universally browned and crispy.

4. Serve immediately.

stuffed quail picsous vide stuffed quail photosous vide stuffed quail picture