Sunday, April 1, 2012
Smoky Cornish Game Hen with Pan Sauce
If you're a Reckless Abandon reader, you know I love my roasted chickens! I've never tried a Cornish Game Hen before so I saw it in the store and grabbed one for a quick dinner. It was absolutely delectable and something I will now make for guests. What is a Cornish Game Hen? It's actually not a game bird, or even a hen. It can be male or female and it's a domestic hybrid chicken. Basically, they are a smaller, juicier version than a regular whole chicken. I thought I could eat a whole one, but indeed only ate half. Also, I roasted vegetables around the Hen and threw them in with Farro, a wonderful grain. You can find the recipe here and you could use couscous or brown rice if you can't find Farro.
-1 cornish game hen (about 1 lb)
-2 Tbsp kosher salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1-2 Tbsp smoked paprika
-1-2 Tbsp dried thyme
-1-2 Tbsp garlic powder
-1/2 white onion
-1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
First, if there are any gizzards inside the hen, remove them and discard. I don't rinse my chickens or poultry before cooking. It just makes the sink one big hazard and any harmful things will just cook off when you roast it. Season the little guy with about 2 Tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1-2 Tbsp of the smoked paprika, dried thyme and garlic powder. Make sure to rub some of the seasonings inside as well. You could do this right before you cook the hens, but if you have the ingredients early and have the time, season the night before or even morning of which will help the flavors absorb into the game hen. Just refrigerate on a plate and lightly covered with plastic wrap.
This is optional, but I used cooking twine to tie the legs together. It just makes it prettier and some say it helps keep the juices in. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a few sliced onions at the bottom of a cast iron skillet. If you don't have one, use a rimmed baking sheet. Place the game hen on top of the onions, breast-side up.
Roast in the oven for about 35-45 minutes at 400 degrees or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh. There's a great picture on this blog post on where to place a thermometer. Once the hen is done, remove it from the pan using two big forks and place on a cutting board. Let it rest about 15 minutes before cutting into it. While it is resting make a pan sauce by adding 1/2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable) to the pan with the caramelized onions. Put the pan on the stove and heat over high until it boils. Let the liquid cook down into a thicker sauce. Serve the cornish game hen whole or cut in half depending on how hungry your guests are or if you're serving side dishes.