Quail in Rose Petal Sauce

by Anne Papina on February 8, 2002

If you ever read Like Water for Chocolate, you know what I’m talking about.

Quail in Rose Petal Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Inspired by Like Water for Chocolate.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
  • 6 Quail (or 3 cornish game hens, halved)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • ½-1 cup Chicken stock or white wine
  • 12 red roses
  • 12 roasted chestnuts, shelled & pureed
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 drops rose water
  • 2 tsp anise seeds
  • 2 cactus fruit (pitaya), ground
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Clean and dress quail so that they hold their shape. Rub quail with olive oil, salt & pepper, and arrange in a non-stick roasting pan, breast side down, add liquid to cover bottom of pan. Cook the quail for 25 minutes and then turn them over and cook for another 25 minutes.
  3. While the birds are roasting, remove the petals from the roses and rinse thoroughly (do not cook with flowers from a florist!). Set aside the petals of two roses, and grind the remaining petals in a mortar with the anise.
  4. Separately, mince the garlic and brown slightly in butter over medium heat. When transparent, add the chestnut puree. Lower heat, and add the honey, ground cactus fruit, and the ground rose petals. Salt to taste. Add cornstarch, to thicken the sauce slightly. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, and add no more than two drops of rose water. Once all seasoning has been added to the sauce remove it from the heat.
  5. Remove quail from oven, and lightly marinate the quail in the sauce for ten minutes to flavor, and return them to the roasting pan. Increase the oven temperature to 500° and roast the quail five to ten minutes more until golden brown.
  6. Serve quail with sauce drizzled on top and garnished with the reserved rose petals.


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