This recipe was featured in the beautiful book “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel. This dish is for lovers. Abandon propriety, and eat with your hands. A lovely pairing for this dish would be a reposada Tequila.
In a small saucepan, add the water, hibiscus flowers, cinnamon, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Strain and save the liquid, discard the hibiscus, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
In a molcajete or mortar and pestle, grind the anise seeds, chestnuts and pithaya until they are a smooth paste. Set aside.
Heat your oven to about 200°. Meanwhile, in a large 10” skillet, heat the butter until it is melted. Add the quail, and fry gently for 15-20 minutes, until the quail are golden and their juices run only faintly pink. Salt lightly and remove to an ovenproof platter, reserving the cooking butter in the skillet.
Place the platter in your warmed oven, holding there until your sauce is ready.
Turn the stove to a low flame, and return the skillet to heat. Add the garlic, along with the chestnut anise paste and roast gently in the butter for 20 seconds. Turn off the heat and allow the butter to cool slightly about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch into the hibiscus tea, and pour into the skillet with the butter. Return the butter to the heat, and stir gently but thoroughly until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Using a mesh strainer, strain the sauce, reserving the butter and discarding what is strained out. Stir in the rosewater.
Pour the sauce over the quail, and allow the platter to hold in the oven about 10 minutes, until the quail is well soaked in the sauce. Decorate the plate with rose petals and edible flowers right before serving.
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbls hibiscus flowers
- 3” stick of cinnamon
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tbls cornstarch
- 2 tsp anise seeds (not star anise)
- 5 chestnuts, minced
- 1 pithaya, or cactus pear, peeled and sliced (optional, if available)
- 8 quail
- 1 stick butter (4 oz)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch sugar
- Sea Salt to taste
- 1 tbls rose water
- Edible roses and flowers Serves 4