Margarita's International Recipes


Codornices en Salsa de Chocolate

Quails in Chocolate Sauce

I was both surprised and enchanted to find out that the Basques have a tradition of cooking birds with chocolate. One can assume that this is a culinary practice they must have borrowed from the Mexicans, whose chocolate moles are now famous worldwide. This sauce, however, does not resemble a mole in anything but its use of chocolate (it has no chilies, no nuts, no spices or fruits). Instead what the Basques did was add chocolate to one of their traditional sauces. It works very well, the sauce is yummy, and I really liked this dish.

I followed the original recipe pretty closely though, as usual, I made a few changes. The original recipe was for 8 quails - however, the easiest way to get quail around here is a package with 6 frozen quail, so I got that and adjusted the quantities of ingredients required downwards. The original recipe also called for frying the bread on olive oil for a couple of minutes, by the time I was done with all my cooking I was too tired to do that so I didn't. You can, of course. Finally, the original recipe called for unsweetened chocolate, I used dark Ghirardelli chocolate because that's what I had around and I have a sweet tooth.

This recipe was originally to be served as a main dish (fish or seafood are more commonly served as a first course in the Baque country), however I decided to serve it as an appetizer as I just didn't see it as being substantial enough to carry the meal. It worked well as an appetizer but I think that if I served 2 or 3 quails (and several slices of bread) per person it'd work as a main dish as well.

Quails in Chocolate Sauce



Salt and truss the quails.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large bowl. Add onions, garlic, carrots, parsley and peppercorns and cook until the onions start to brown. Add the quails and cook on all sides until lightly browned. Add the wine and vinegar and cover the pan. Turn down the heat and cook untilt he quail is done, about 30 minutes. Remove the quails from the pot and keep warm. Add the chocolate to the sauce and some water if the sauce has become too thick. Mix well and cook until the chocolate has melted. Return the quails to the pot and cook for 10 more minutes, until the sauce is thick.

Remove the quails and untruss. Put a slice of bread on each plate, top it with one or two quails and the sauce. Serve.

Adapted from The Basque Table.

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