Grilled California Quail with Fig and Port Sauce

Grilled California Quail with Fig and Port Sauce
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About This Recipe

Delve into the heart of Napa Valley's renowned culinary scene with a dish that perfectly encapsulates its rich flavors and local produce. Presenting the Grilled California Quail, embellished with a homemade fig BBQ sauce and a luscious port wine reduction. It’s not just a meal; it’s a journey through the vineyards, markets, and passion of this splendid region.

A Perfect Union of Local Ingredients
One can't talk about Napa Valley without mentioning its fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The cornerstone of this dish is the California quail – a delicately flavored game bird native to the state. When combined with the sweetness of fresh figs – a treasure found abundantly during the late summers of Napa – the result is sheer culinary magic. And the magic doesn't end there. The quail is drizzled with a fig sauce enriched by a port wine reduction. For this, I recommend using exquisite port wines from local producers, accentuating the dish’s authentic Napa essence.

A Recipe Not Just for the Palate, But for the Soul
While the combination of quail meat, fig sauce, and port wine makes the dish's soul, the side dishes elevate the entire dining experience. Imagine pairing your quail with a refreshing citrusy salad or a seasonal vegetable medley that complements the rich, grill sauce flavors. For those with a penchant for indulgence, a creamy risotto or a lavish potato gratin makes an exemplary side. And as you sip on the lingering notes of a red wine sauce recipe, don't forget to treat your sweet tooth. A poached pear soaked in red wine or a delectable chocolate mousse enriched with a red wine reduction seamlessly continues the wine narrative.

Support Local; Taste Global
Achieving unparalleled flavor in this dish demands sourcing ingredients right from the heart of Napa. Whether it's the fresh produce from Napa Valley's farms and farmers' markets or the artisanal products, local sourcing ensures authenticity. Enhance the wine component of your fig BBQ sauce by exploring local wineries like Stags' Leap Winery, Chappellet, or Frog's Leap. By doing so, you not only savor an authentic Napa Valley meal but also champion the local economy and the region’s agricultural legacy.

In essence, Napa Valley is a paradise not just for wine aficionados but for every gastronome who appreciates quality and sustainability. The next time the wine country beckons your palate, turn to this Grilled California Quail with Fig BBQ Sauce and Port Wine Reduction recipe. Every morsel promises to transport you straight to Napa Valley’s vineyards.

Happy grilling and here's to all your wine-infused culinary endeavors!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: California Quail

The California quail, often recognized by its distinctive topknot, is more than just the official state bird of California; it's also a culinary delicacy. This game bird boasts tender, flavorful meat that's prized by chefs and food lovers alike. As a native species to the Golden State, the quail's diet of seeds and plants native to the region gives its meat a unique, earthy flavor that's perfectly enhanced when grilled. When combined with Napa Valley's rich ingredients like fresh figs and port wine, it stands as a testament to the region's culinary riches.

How to: Perfectly Grill California Quail

  1. Preparation: Begin by ensuring the quail is cleaned thoroughly and patted dry to help achieve a crisp, golden skin.
  2. Seasoning: Lightly season the bird all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This not only enhances its flavor but also aids in achieving a delicious crust.
  3. Oiling: Brushing the quail with olive oil ensures it doesn't stick to the grill, providing a smoother grilling experience.
  4. Grilling: Place the quail on a preheated medium-high grill. The key is to turn it occasionally for even cooking, ensuring that all sides get a good sear.
  5. Resting: Once grilled, let the quail rest tented under foil for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful bite.


  1. Can I substitute another type of bird if I can't find California quail? While California quail is unique in flavor, you can use other small game birds like partridges or Cornish hens as a substitute, adjusting the grilling time accordingly.
  2. Are fresh figs essential, or can dried figs be used? Fresh figs provide a juicy contrast, but dried figs, when rehydrated, can be an equally delicious alternative.
  3. What if I'm allergic to figs? You can omit the figs or substitute them with another fruit like dried cherries or apricots that pairs well with port.
  4. How should I store leftovers? Store any leftover quail and sauce in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. Consume within 2-3 days.
  5. Can I prepare the port sauce ahead of time? Absolutely! The port sauce can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Just reheat it gently before serving.

Tips for Success

  1. Choose Quality Ingredients: To truly capture the essence of Napa Valley, source your ingredients from local farmers' markets or specialty stores. Fresh, high-quality ingredients elevate the dish.
  2. Monitor Grill Heat: Keeping a consistent medium-high heat ensures the quail cooks evenly without drying out.
  3. Let the Sauce Shine: The fig and port sauce is a star in its own right. Ensure it simmers long enough to achieve a slightly thickened consistency, letting the flavors meld together.

Recipe Overview

Grilled California Quail with Fig and Port Sauce
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 whole California quail (or 8 quail halves), cleaned and patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken or game bird stock
  • 8 fresh or dried figs, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Season the quail with salt and pepper, then brush with olive oil.
  2. Grill the quail over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Remove from the grill and set aside, tented with foil, to rest.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the port, chicken stock, figs, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the best flavor is achieved and sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the sauce from heat, and whisk in the butter until incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
  5. To serve, arrange the quail on a platter or individual plates, and spoon the fig and port sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs if desired.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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