Quail with Rice: Arroz con Codorniz

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

This recipe, using saffron and olive oil, clearly reflects the Spanish side of Mexican cooking and is similar to arroz con pollo. If your market sells quail breasts, they are more convenient to use in this recipe. If using whole quail, clip off the wings.


  • 3 pounds quail or quail breasts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6-8 ounces chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup raw rice, washed and allowed to dry
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded diced tomato
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon saffron, dissolved in ½ cup hot water.
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt to taste


Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large cazuela, flameproof casserole, or arrocera. (This is a large pan sold in Mexico for cooking rice. A large paella pan would also work.) Saute the quail in the oil until golden brown, using tongs to turn for even browning. If using breasts only, this will take only a few minutes. Remove quail and set aside. Do not wash cazuela.

In a frying pan, cook the chorizo, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break it up into small chunks. Remove and drain on paper towels.

In the cazuela where the quail was cooked, heat the remaining oil and add the onion and bell pepper. Saute until soft, add the garlic and continue cooking 2 more minutes.

Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add the wine and tomato and cook until the wine has almost evaporated. Add the cumin and the saffron with its soaking water. Return the quail to the cazuela, add the chorizo, the broth and salt to taste.

Simmer, covered, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Serve with salad and bolillos or French bread.

Serves 4.

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Published or Updated on: November 1, 2005 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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