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Braised Quail with Poblano Chilies, Saffron, and Chorizo

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 onions
  • 2 fresh poblano chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 2 Spanish chorizo links (about 6 oz. total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 large vine ripened tomatoes
  • 6 whole jumbo Quail (6 to 8 oz. each)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons corn or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • lime wedges
  • polenta or rice


Preheat oven to 325F

In a small bowl, combine broth or water and saffron. Thinly slice enough onion to measure 1-1/2 cups and finely chop garlic. Remove casings from chorizo and cut sausages into 1/4 inch thick slices. Peel tomatoes and seed. Cut enough tomato into 1/4 inch dice to measure 1-1/2 cups With poultry shears or a sharp knife cut off necks, feet, and first 2 wing joints of each quail and discard. Pat dry and season with pepper and salt. In a 12 inch heavy skillet heat butter and corn or canola oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add quail, breast sides down, and brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer quail to a plate. In a large shallow flameproof kettle with a tight fitting lid, cook onion in olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden. Add garlic and chorizo and cook, stirring, until garlic is softened but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, and bay leaf or leaves and cook, stirring 30 seconds. Add saffron mixture, tomato, and pepper and salt to taste and bring to a simmer.

Add quail to chorizo mixture and braise, covered, in middle of oven, basting every 15 minutes, 1 hour total. While quail is braising roast and peel poblanos. Wearing rubber gloves, cut chilies into thin strips. Chop cilantro.

Arrange quail on a platter and keep warm. Discard bay leaf and skim any fat from chorizo mixture, if desired. Stir in chilies, cilantro, and salt to taste and bring mixture to a boil.

Spoon chorizo mixture around quail and serve with lime wedges and polenta or rice.

Serves 4

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