Chile Verde with Quail

bd48180a-66a9-4509-8f4c-95c116d2ef05 Story and photos by Ruben and Andrea Mata
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Rubin Mata’s story, be sure to listen to this On The Wing podcast
This is a traditional Mexican recipe that I enjoyed as a child growing up. It is traditionally made with pork, however my mother often made it with chicken when I was a child. You can pretty much use any type of meat you like.   
It is also customarily served with warm corn tortillas. However, in our house we love it with freshly-made corn tortilla chips. As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate the dishes I was served as a child, and I asked my wife Andrea to add this to our dinner meals. Our boys love chile verde for dinner, and we can’t wait for quail season to come around so my wife can make this for us.         
The best part is that we know we’re our food came from and it’s ORGANIC!       
This recipe can be made to your taste, but in my opinion my wife has perfected it. 
After we filmed the Project Upland quail hunting film “This Exists” it was natural to have the film crew over so my wife could cook up a great well-deserved authentic Mexican dinner with the game harvested from the days of filming. We were lucky enough to share that with them and I can tell you they weren’t afraid to go in for seconds!
Chile Verde with Quail
For the sauce
8 tomatillos
2 anaheim or poblano peppers
3 jalapeno peppers
1 serrano pepper
1 bunch of cilantro
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup of chicken broth
5-10 quail cleaned and off the bone
Husk and rinse the tomatillos and rinse and cut the stems off all the peppers.

Line a baking sheet with foil and broil the tomatillos and peppers on high for 20 minutes or until blackened, flipping everything half way through. You want the skin nice and roasted. The tomatillos may pop, but don’t worry, that helps with the flavor.

Remove the tomatillos and peppers from oven and place in bag to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle place the tomatillos in the blender (we use skin on but you can remove if you’d like).

Cut the peppers in half and remove seeds to cut some of the heat. I find that a spoon works best. Again, you can remove the skin, however we choose to leave it on as we really like the smoky flavor it adds.

Add the peppers to the blender, along with the teaspoon of minced garlic and cilantro and blend well.
While the peppers and tomatillos are roasting and cooling you can start the meat. When Rubin is able to get a limit of quail (in California it’s 10) that is enough to feed 4-6 people.

Once he cleans them, I pull as much meat as I can get off the bones to make sure we have little to no waste.

Take whatever meat you can pull, add it to a skillet with one teaspoon of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Brown the meat for perhaps a few minutes, making sure you get all sides browned; however, you don’t have to worry about cooking it all the way through. Once browned, put the meat to the side until your sauce is made.

Add the tomatillo and pepper sauce from the blender to a large pan (I like using a deep sauté pan), add one cup chicken stock and the browned quail, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours.

Serve with rice, beans and tortilla chips and enjoy!

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Quail Forever Journal. To read more great quail-related content, become a member today!