This year, why not avoid the Mother’s Day restaurant rush and spend an amazing evening at home. No looking for parking, fighting the crowds, noisy restaurants, less than perfect table service. Give the gift of preparing an unforgettable meal for mom, or, invite a private chef into her kitchen or yours. Now that that’s settled, what to serve?
Of course, nothing says “Mother’s Day” quite like flowers! (This menu is one I developed for my private chef services, learn more at Una Señorita Gourmet.)
The following recipe is adapted from my book Celebraciones Mexicanas: History, Traditions and Recipes, (co-authored with Adriana Almazan Lahl) and can be prepared using quail or Cornish game hen (also called poussin). Poussin are just small young chickens, typically slaughtered at about four weeks of age, with tender white or very light meat. The same bird, grown to seven to nine weeks of age, is then referred to as a fryer and at twelve weeks of age, a roaster. The age of the bird determines classification. Use poussin in place of a more mature bird in your favorite chicken recipe and watch as your dinner guests are amazed by your culinary prowess.
Not sure about cooking quail: Chef Mariana Caravallo of Private Chefs of the SF Bay shares her “biggest secret. To give quail flavor and tenderness, I process the salt with herbs in a processor and then rub it on the quail skin, a little olive oil and a sweet wine such as Moscato, works as a ‘brine’ but better because it penetrates the meat! Only for couple hours! Then I sauté and finish in the oven!”
Prepare your poussin or quail, then add Rose and Hibiscus Sauce (see below) to the pan, deglazing the pan and mixing sauce with poussin or quail juices. Place warm sauce in the center of a plate, garnish with fresh rose petals, fresh tarragon leaves and roasted pine nuts.
Rose and Hibiscus Sauce
2½ cups water
¼ cup hibiscus flowers (dehydrated)
½ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1-tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 cups organic rose petals, white or red
¾ cup white wine
¾ cup rose water
Salt and pepper to taste
2-tablespoons shallots, minced
First, make hibiscus water by bringing 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan and adding hibiscus flowers, ¼ cup sugar, and a cinnamon stick; simmer for 15 minutes on high. Remove from flame, pass through a sieve, and allow to cool.
Next, wash rose petals, cutting their white tips close to the stem with a sharp knife. Add petals to 1½ cups water and ¼ cup rose water and allow to sit for a few minutes; pass through a sieve and set the petals aside, saving 1 cup of the liquid in a large saucepan to which you will add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon sugar, and ¼ cup white wine. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes; set aside. Once ingredients cool down, add ½ cup of hibiscus and ½ cup rose water in a blender and mix until smooth; season with salt and pepper. In another saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter and on low heat cook minced shallots for 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon flour, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly to form a roux. Add rose/hibiscus blended sauce to the roux and bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes more until it thickens; set aside (note- if sauce is not thick enough, in a separate small saucepan prepare additional roux using butter and flour and add to sauce mixture, whisking in the stovetop over a low flame as you add the roux, until desired consistency is achieved).