Dirty Rice-Stuffed Quail, Zipper Peas, Crawfish, and Smoked Romesco

Adapted by StarChefs.com
July 2013
Yield: 6 servings


½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup molasses
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
6 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
semi-boneless quails
Dirty Rice
vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
1½ cups Carolina gold rice
chicken stock
8 ounces raw chicken liver purée
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Zipper Peas
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons shaved garlic
3 fresh bay leaves
¼ cup dry Red wine
1 pound zipper peas
chicken stock
red wine vinegar
3 red bell peppers, peeled, seeds and pith removed, charred
2 red onions, peeled, halved, charred
2 cups Roma tomatoes concasse
10 cloves garlic, peeled
½ jalapeno, seeds and pith removed
¼ cup shelled pecans
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
¼ cup Sherry vinegar
To Assemble and Serve
vegetable oil
Crushed garlic
sprigs thyme
chicken stock
4 dozen crawfish tails
Fines herbes
extra virgin olive oil
black pepper


For the Quail:
In a small bowl, combine balsamic, molasses, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Place quail in a large dish, cover with marinade, spreading evenly so all sides of the quail are covered. Marinate 1 hour.

For the Dirty Rice:
In a sauté pan, heat oil and sweat onions, bell pepper, and celery until onions are translucent and pepper and celery begin to soften. Add garlic and sauté until edges begin to brown. Add tomato paste and cook until color deepens. Stir in thyme. Add rice and stir to coat. Spread rice evenly and pour in enough stock to cover by 1-inch. Season with salt and stir until simmering. Cover, lower heat, and cook 12 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes, uncovered. Add liver and stir to combine. Stir in scallions and season with salt. Cool completely before stuffing quails. Once stuffed, cut small slit in one leg and slide other leg through hole to secure stuffing in birds. Cover and refrigerate.

For the Zipper Peas:
In a sauté pan, heat bacon fat and sweat onions, garlic, and bay until onions are translucent. Add wine and peas, season with salt, and cover with stock. Simmer until peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain peas, remove bay, and season with vinegar and salt. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate.

For the Romesco:
Prepare hot smoker. Combine peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, and pecans in roasting pan. Smoke until vegetables are tender. Transfer to Vitamix, add paprika and sherry, and purée. Season with salt, chill in ice bath, cover, and refrigerate.

To Assemble and Serve:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in sauté pan. Season Quail with salt and pepper and sear breast-side-down until skin is golden brown and crisp. Flip Quail and finish cooking in oven, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven, add butter, garlic, and thyme, and baste Quail in butter for about 1 minute. In a separate pan, bring chicken stock to a simmer and warm Zipper Peas and crawfish tails. Finish with fines herbes and butter. Warm Romesco and spread on serving plate. Place Quail on Romesco. Spoon Zippper Peas and crawfish over quail. Garnish with fines herbes and olive oil.