Quails With Prunes And Thyme

My friend Ellà is a foodie too, whenever I invite her over, I feel my cooking skills are being tested. I have to admit her food is DELISH! I found out the best way to avoid her comparisons with other recipes was to cook her meals she never had before or at least not common meals, like quails (in Arabic is Ferreh).

I think we all have Ellàs in our lives and wondering how to impress them. This recipe is simple and does the job, but don’t forget to top it with liquor. Only liquors with high alcohol content can be used to flame food. I use cognac, rum or brandy. Wine or beers will not work. Flambé food adds an extravagant touch to the evening, especially if it’s done at the table where it’s served. I usually transfer quails to a serving dish and ignite the brandy. It’s dramatic! And my guests ARE impressed! What kind of show off is this? Trust me the feeling is fabulous! How do I know, you ask? ‘Coz Ellà called the next day I invited her and asked for the recipe:)

Quails flambéed with Prunes and Brandy


  • 6 Quails
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp sumac
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 6 prunes, pitted
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 500ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1/4 cup brandy


  1. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 220°C/400°F.
  2. Rinse inside and outside of quails, and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Add sumac and salt to the melted butter and use this mixture to brush all 6 birds.
  4. Mix sugar and cinnamon and season each of the bird cavities.
  5. Fill each of the cavities with one prune, 1 tablespoon of onion, and little of the bunch thyme. Tie the quail’s legs together with kitchen twine, and set aside.
  6. In the bottom of a large roasting pan, scatter the vegetables; carrots, celery, the remaining onions and thyme. Arrange the quails on the top of the vegetables. Drizzle with stock and bake for 55 minutes or until quails are cooked through.
  7. To make the flambé, pour the brandy over the quails and ignite with a match or a lighter. When flame goes out and liquor has burned off, you are ready to serve.
  8. It’s great with rice, green salad and pitta bread.