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Cordorniz en Nogada


  • 6 exas quail boneless breast, wings and leg bones attached
  • 6 slices bacon


  • Grind each spice separately in a spice or coffee grinder and set aside:
  • 1 large piece of cinnamon
  • 4 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 or 8 allspice berries
  • You won’t use it all but need a minimum amount to actually blend them. Set aside and use specified amount of ground spices in the recipes

Quail stuffing

  • 1 Tbsp corn oil or neutral oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1-1/2 cups diced roasted tomatoes can use canned fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp sweet vermouth
  • 1 Tbsp chopped raisins
  • 1 Tbsp chopped dried apricot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red apple skin on
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green apple skin on
  • 1/4 cup crab apple skin on
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Bosc pear skin on
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped ripe plantain
  • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds toasted
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground star anise
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Pomegranate Mole

  • 3 Tbsp corn oil divided
  • 11 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 purple onion diced
  • 3 cups pomegranate seeds
  • Pinch ground star anise
  • Pinch allspice
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 2 dried guajillo
  • 6 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup sliced raw almonds

Butternut squash puree

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground star anise
  • 3 butternut squash seeded, halved and roasted at 300-degree oven for 1 hour
  • 1 Tbsp honey


  • Preheat the conventional oven to 350 F
  • Pat quail dry and season with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of sea salt, wrap each with a slice of bacon and secure with toothpick.
  • Divide the stuffing (recipe follows) in 6 equal parts and stuff the quail. Reserve 4 oz of the filling for garnish.
  • Sear the quail in a large pan on low heat for 3 minutes then flip it and sear for another 3-4 minutes until they reach a golden-brown color. You want bacon to render but not burn.
  • Transfer quail to a baking rack and cook in oven for 37-40 minutes.

Quail Stuffing

  • Heat oil in sautepan over medium heat.
  • Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, add tomato and deglaze for 2 minutes, add sweet vermouth.
  • Add chopped raisins and apricot and cook for 3 minutes.
  • When 3/4 liquid has been reduced (after about 5-7 minutes), add chopped apples and pears and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add plantains, spices and almonds and stir.
  • Add sugar and cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly until the fruit absorbs the liquid and fruit is cooked but not mushy.
  • Remove from heat and cool down in pot for 10 minutes until at room temperature.

Pomegranate Mole

  • Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in pot over medium heat, stir in garlic and onion and cook about 5 minutes, until soft, then add pomegranate seeds and stir for 4 more minutes.
  • Add ground spices, raisins, sesame seeds and almonds. Stir for 2 minutes. Then add guajillo peppers and pomegranate juice and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Pour carefully into blender and blend thoroughly to a smooth texture then pass through a strainer to remove the seeds.
  • Heat remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in shallow pan over medium heat, pour in the sauce and “fry” the mole for 5-7 minutes.

Butternut squash puree

  • Place butter and spices in saucepan over medium heat and melt together, about 3 minutes.
  • Place all ingredients except honey in in blender and puree until smooth.
  • Stir in honey.

To Serve

  • Place a smear of butternut squash puree on the serving plate.
  • Place a stuffed quail on the puree.
  • Pour a few ounces of mole over the quail.
  • Garnish with a few bits of the stuffing strewn about and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.