Grilled Quail With Chickpeas 6.000

Brandy Spencer

Smoke Signals Apr 25, 2012

This is a delicious and bright dish, layered with Texas flavor, for a fresh spring menu.

Pickled ginger is available in the international aisles of many supermarkets.

Make Ahead: The garbanzo beans must be soaked overnight. The guajillo puree may be made up to a week in advance. The Chile Barbeque and Quail Marinade can be put together the day before to allow the flavors to marry. The quails need to marinate in the refrigerator for three hours.

Servings: 6
  • For the chili barbecue
  • 35 dried guajillo chile peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon ground caraway seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1/4 cup packed)
  • 1/4 bunch mint leaves (about 1/4 cup packed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • For the quail marinade
  • 4 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 3 bunches fresh cilantro
  • 20 cloves garlic
  • 8 tablespoons paprika
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup pickled ginger with 1/4 cup of its pickling juice
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups blended oil (or neutral oil)
  • 8 lemons, juice and zest
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 12 quails, quartered and patted dry
  • For the chickpeas
  • 3 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover, and rinsed
  • No-salt-added chicken broth for cooking the chickpeas, plus 1/4 cup for the chickpea mixture
  • 4 teaspoons neutrally flavored oil, such as vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into medium dice (1 cup)
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into medium dice
  • 4 cloves garlic (stem ends removed), cut into paper-thin slices
  • 4 cups turnip greens, from about 2 bunches of turnips, rinsed well, then coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch oregano leaves
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
  • Kosher salt
  • For assembly
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 bunch mint leaves (about 1/4 cup packed)
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves (about 1/4 cup packed)
  • 1 medium shallot, cut into very thin slices (about 1/4 cup)
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt


For the chili barbecue: Don food-safe gloves and use kitchen scissors to cut the stems from the chili peppers; discard the stems and seeds. Transfer the chilies to a large saucepan and add enough water to barely submerge them. Heat over high heat until the water reaches a rolling boil, then cook until the chilies become soft and rehydrated, about 10 minutes, using tongs to move the chilies around in the water.

Transfer the softened chilies and most of their liquid to a blender. Remove the center knob from the blender lid and cover the opening with a kitchen towel to contain any splash-ups. Puree to a paste, adding more of the soaking water if needed. Pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing against it with the back of a flexible spatula to push the mixture through. Discard any solids remaining in the strainer. The yield is 2 cups. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Transfer the guajillo puree to a food processor and add the garlic, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, caraway seed, cumin seed, coriander, sugar, salt, cilantro, mint leaves and olive oil. Puree until smooth.

For the quail marinade: Toast the coriander seed in a small skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Transfer to a food processor; add the cilantro, garlic, paprika, cumin, the pickled ginger and its juice, cayenne pepper, blended oil, lemon juice and zest, and salt. Process to form a paste.

Place the quails in a resealable food storage bag and add the marinade. Seal the bag and massage it to coat the birds evenly with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Place the soaked and rinsed chickpeas in a heavy-bottomed pot and add chicken broth to cover. Cook over low heat until tender, approximately 1 hour. Strain, and discard the liquid.

Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 to 5 seconds. Grill the quail for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until they register an internal temperature of 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a plate to rest while you prepare the chickpea mixture.

For the chickpeas: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and jalapenos and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to gain some color, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, turnip greens, oregano and chickpeas, and toss until the greens wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Taste, and add salt if needed.

For assembly: Combine the parsley, mint and cilantro leaves with the shallot, lemon juice and salt to taste in a medium bowl.

Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of the chili barbecue on each dinner plate. Top with the chickpea mixture, then with 2 quails. Divide the herb mixture evenly over each portion

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Tim Byres, chef at Smoke restaurant in Dallas.

Tested by Jim Shahin.

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