Quail Relleno


Preparation info

  • Serves


Appears in

Memories of Philippine Kitchens

Memories of Philippine Kitchens

By Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan

Published 2006

  • About

In the Philippines, quail is known as pugo, which was traditionally cooked as an adobo. This tiny bird has almost disappeared from the culinary lexicon of Filipino cooks. We wanted to revisit the versatility of this bird, and came up with this recipe. You can also try making this with snipes, the tiny rice-field birds of Pampanga.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • 1 small chorizo, diced
  • ¼ pound calf’s liver, minced
  • 1 cup diced water chestnuts
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 12 whole quails, deboned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 quail eggs, boiled for 2 minutes, drained, and peeled
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 head garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter or olive oil
  • Garlic Sauce


  1. For the filling, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. When the mixture has cooled, add the pork, chorizo, liver, water chestnuts, egg, cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Using clean hands, mix well until thoroughly combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Season each quail with salt and pepper and place on a work surface breast side up. Close the neck opening of each quail by inserting a toothpick under the wings and through the top of the body cavity. Stuff each quail with about ¼ cup of the filling, nestling 1 quail egg in the center. Tie the legs.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add 4 of the quail and sear until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining quail, in two more batches, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
  4. Scatter the garlic cloves around the quail. Brush with the melted butter or oil. Roast, turning once, until the quail are nicely browned on both sides and the internal temperature of the filling reaches 165°F, about 25 minutes. Serve garnished with the roasted garlic cloves, or use the garlic cloves to make a sauce.