Roasted Quail with a New Mexican Twist

I recently posted this dish on Recipes from the Road for Regency RV, but I was so delighted with the delicious concoction that I felt compelled to share it here.  All of you regulars know by now that I harbor a deep, abiding love for all things Hatch Green Chile.  Well, it’s that time of year again and this recipe may be the most mouthwateringly divine vessel for the green pods of heaven yet!

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This New Mexican-inspired dish is a culinary mashup of Hatch Green Chiles and Quail.  Stuffed with chile-infused wild rice and wrapped in Roasted Hatch Green Chiles, this semi-boneless quail is an effortless centerpiece that will bring a new twist on the Land of Enchantment’s cuisine and will delight any night of the week.

If you live outside the southwest and can’t lay your hands on some in your local grocery, you can always order Hatch Green Chiles online.  Here’s a useful link from Saveur that lists a few reliable purveyors: https://www.saveur.com/best-hatch-green-chiles-order-online/

As for the quail, you can also use Cornish game hens as an excellent substitute for this recipe, but I prefer the beautiful texture and inimitable flavor of quail.  One of my fondest memories of quail was eating it stuffed with wild rice at the Dallas institution, Old Warsaw.  Although it’s no longer part of the updated menu in their new location, it continued to linger in my sense memory, which inevitably led me to conjure up this New Mexican twist on the classic dish.

So without further adieu, here goes – Roasted Quail Stuffed with Hatch Green Chile Wild Rice:

Ingredients:

For the Wild Rice:

  • 2 Tb butter
  • ¼ t marjoram
  • ¼ t sage
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper, or more according to your preference
  • 1 Tb red chile powder
  • 1 Tb cumin
  • 1 Tb onion powder
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Hatch green chiles, minced
  • 1 cup of wild rice
  • 3 cups of chicken stock

For the Quail:

  • 8 semi-boneless Quail
  • 4 Hatch Green Chiles, sliced vertically in half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

In a Dutch oven, like a le creuset or even an instant pot, heat two tablespoons of butter on low until it just starts to bubble then add the rice and stir until fully coated.  Add the mixture of spices as well as minced green chiles, shallots and garlic and continue to stir until the lighter rice turns an even, golden brown. Add the chicken stock then turn the heat up to medium.  Keep the heat up until the pot reaches a boil then turn it down to medium-low and cover.  Continue to stir the pot every few minutes to avoid any sticking on the bottom.  This should take roughly 40-45 minutes.

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In the meantime, dry the quail fully, massage with salt and pepper and coat with olive oil.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the rice is ready, remove from the pan and set aside.  Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat then sear the quail on both sides for two minutes each.  Pull the quail off the grill, stuff with the rice, coat once more in olive oil then wrap each quail in a Hatch Green Chile slice.  Coat the bottom of a glass dish with olive and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

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Arrange the stuffed quail on a plate and serve as a stand alone or alongside sautéed okra with a spice mix from the recipe.  As a pairing partner, a bottle of Cabernet Franc from Chinon in France’s Loire Valley is an unrivaled winner.

As always, bon appétit, y’all!