Pareja de Codornices en Salsa de Chile Ancho Con Miel: Pair of Quail in Ancho Chile-Honey Sauce

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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8 medium semi-boneless quail


1/2 cup virgin olive oil
3 oz. ancho chile powder (available in any Mexican grocery store)
4 Tbsp. chopped garlic


7 ancho chiles
2 cups boiling water
1-1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup honey
salt to taste
pinch cinnamon
pinch ground cloves


To prepare the marinade:

In a glass bowl mix the olive oil, garlic and ancho chile powder, then add the quail. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

To prepare the sauce:

Stem, seed and devein the chiles, then place them, one or two at a time, in a dry cast-iron skillet that has been heated to medium-hot. Cook the chiles over medium-high heat, turning several times, until toasted, about 40-60 seconds. Transfer the toasted chiles to a bowl and cover with some boiling water and soak for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook the onion gently until soft, about 5-6 minutes, then set aside. Strain the chiles, reserving the liquid.

Transfer the chiles to a blender and add about 1 cup of the reserved liquid and puree the chile mixture until smooth, then push the mixture through a medium mesh strainer into a saucepan with the onion. Stir in honey and seasonings, and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it gently for about 8 minutes.

To prepare the quail:

On a very hot grill or in a hot cast-iron skillet set the quail skin-side down, for about 4 minutes, then turn the quail and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes or until cooked to medium-rare.

To serve:

Ladle about 3 oz. of the ancho-chile sauce onto a dinner plate and put the quail on top.

Yields 4 servings.

Recipe from Chef Priscilla Satkoff of Chicagos fabulous restaurant ¡Salpicón!.