Quail Wrapped in Pancetta with a Cabernet-Balsamic Glaze

Yield: 24 bite sized hors d’oeuvres

This is a simple recipe to prepare, as you can do most of the preparation ahead of time.

You can wrap the quail the day before and make the Cabernet-balsamic glaze up to a week or two ahead of time. Make enough of the Glaze so that you have plenty left over.

This is a wonderful sweet, dark glaze with a slightly tart finish. It can be used on many items. I use it on sandwiches and grilled steaks.

If you cannot find quail, or prefer a simple substitute, you can cut pieces of pork tenderloin and wrap them instead. Ask your butcher to thinly slice the uncooked pancetta for you.

  • 6 ea  Quail (boneless), 5-8 ounces each
  • 24 each Pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 24 each 6” wooden skewers
  • 1 tablespoon Cabernet-Balsamic Glaze

Separate the two breast halves and the two legs on the quail. Cut each breast section into 2 equal sized pieces. Carefully wrap each quail breast piece with a ½ slice of the pancetta so that it goes around 2 times. Separate the thigh from the small drumstick of the quail, remove the small bone from the quail thigh and wrap these the same way as the breast pieces.

Place a skewer through the pancetta/quail so that it holds the pancetta in place and allows you to cook and eat it later.

Once all the quail are wrapped, chill for at least ½ hour. When you are ready, preheat either a grill, sauté pan or a griddle top to medium heat and cook the quail skewers for 2-3 minutes on each side.

When the pancetta is nice and browned on 2 sides, the quail will be done inside. Place on a platter and drizzle with a small amount of the Cabernet Balsamic Glaze.

Serve the quail warm. The glaze should be room temp.

Balsamic Glaze:

Yield: 2 cups

  • 1 Tablespoon  butter
  • 2 Tablespoons  golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 gallon  balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup  shallots, fine dice


Saute the shallots in butter until they are soft and transparent. Add the brown sugar, allow to dissolve. Add the wine and reduce to half. Add the balsamic vinegar and slowly reduce to 2 cups. The resulting liquid will be thick, shiny and smooth. Strain and chill. Use at room temperature.

This sauce will last for weeks.

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