Grilled Cilantro-Poblano Quail

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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1 jalapeno chile, roasted and with stem, skin and seeds removed
1 poblano chile, roasted and with stem, skin and seeds removed
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, cut into small cubes, softened
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only (reserve a few whole sprigs for garnish)
juice of 3 limes
salt to taste
8 semi-boneless quail
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the grill to 350F. Puree the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add salt to taste and set aside. Sprinkle the quail liberally with salt and pepper on all sides, then rub thoroughly with the chile butter and allow to sit for 10-12 minutes.

Cook the quail until grill marks appear and the birds are medium-rare, 2-3 minutes on each side. For medium, add another minute on the first side. Baste the quail with the chile butter while cooking. Allow the grilled meat to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish the plates with cilantro sprigs.

Yields 8 appetizer servings.

Recipe by David Bull, Driskill Grill, Driskill Hotel, Austin, TX.