Roasted Quail Stuffed with Hatch Green Chile Wild Rice – on Recipes from the Road

Today’s recipe is derived from one of my recent concoctions that was so delightful, I felt I simply had to share it on Recipes from the Road.  This New Mexican-inspired dish is a culinary mashup of two of my all-time favorite ingredients – 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 delight around the campfire or bring a new twist on the Land of Enchantment’s cuisine to your very own Regency RV supper table.

But, before we get cooking, let’s talk chiles…

I’m a Hatch Green Chile evangelist!  They’re totally inimitable and reveal a level of complexity in just about any dish you choose to add them to.  Hatch Green Chiles hail only from the Hatch Valley of New Mexico and are in season for a mere two months.  Every year, I find a gourmet grocery store that’s roasting them or plan to be in Texas during season to stock up on a year’s worth of these little green pods of heaven.  In fact, when we were stationed in Canada, I habitually lugged the allowed amount of roasted Hatch Green Chiles through customs each year to store in my freezer.  We spread the gift of the green far and wide in the great white north and our homemade salsa became a de rigueur Christmas gift among our beloved Canadians.  These days, I keep the freezer of our house as well as our Regency RV stocked with Hatch Green Chiles year round.  They are truly without rival and can be used in myriad styles of cuisine; they unfailingly add an unexpected layer of bliss and complexity to just about anything.  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 their 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.

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.

Arrange the stuffed quail on plates and enjoy!  As a side, I love sautéed okra with similar spices from the recipe.  As a pairing partner, a bottle of Cabernet Franc from Chinon in France’s Loire Valley is an unfailing winner!

As always, happy trails and bon appétit!