14 January 2010

A Treat For Silent Bob's Birthday!

Do you get sick of making the 'same old, same old' ? I do.  Consequently, I tend to browse periodically through the market looking for food that I've ignored for a long time, am eager to experiment with, or that is so ridiculously inexpensive that I simply can't ignore it. On one of my last browsing forays, I found Cornish game hens. I couldn't pass up a good deal ... two hens for $3 and change! I snagged a couple packets and stuck them in the freezer for a special meal down the line.

Fast forward a month or so...
It's Silent Bob's birthday! Time for a nice meal to accompany the decadent cake that Kate is making for his celebration!  I pulled those little beauties out of the freezer. Then, I roasted them up with sage and lemon, drizzled them with a gorgeous white wine mushroom sauce and cozied  them up next to a roasted butternut squash risotto and a nice mound of spinach on our plates. After admiring their crispy golden perfection, we ripped them asunder and dipped each bite in that sinful wine sauce ... truly yummy.

We won't even discuss here how wonderful Silent Bob's birthday cake was ... pictures and recipes to follow on THAT sugar orgy!

Credits: The hen recipe is adapted from an entry in a cookbook called The Colonial Williamburg Tavern Cookbook and the risotto is another mystery Internet recipe that I found last year sometime... enjoy these offerings. They are both quite good!

Roasted Game Hens With White Wine Mushroom Sauce - printer friendly

Roasted Game Hens with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

1/2 c. butter
1/2 lb. mushroom caps, trimmed and quartered
1/4 c. flour
2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
twelve perfect sage leaves
1 lemon, chopped into eight chunks
4 game hens, rinsed and dried
butcher twine for tying the hens legs in place

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Spray a roaster rack with some cooking spray and arrange in a roasting pan.

Run a finger in between the breast skin and the breast meat of each hen, and slide two sage leaves in between the skin and meat (see picture). Sprinkle some salt and black pepper into each hen's cavity and stuff with a chunk of lemon and one more sage leaf. Tie the legs together with butcher twine and fold the wing tips back under the bodies. Rub with a small amount of olive oil and arrange on the roaster rack surrounded by the other chunks of lemon.

Place in preheated oven, decrease heat to 350 degrees, and roast for about 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when the side of the breast is poked with a fork.

Meanwhile, prepare the wine sauce. Saute the mushrooms in 1/4 c. butter for about 10 minutes until they are browned and starting to crisp a bit at the edges.

Remove from the pan and  place on a paper towel to drain abit . Keep warm.

In the same pan, melt 1/4 c. butter over medium-high heat and add the flour to make a roux. Stir the roux until it is creamy yellow and bubbly.

Add the chicken stock and stir until thickened and bubbly.

Add the white wine, the drained mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.

Add the parsley and correct the salt and pepper seasoning. Remove from the heat and re-warm when the hens are ready to serve.

When the hens are done, place them on a rimmed platter and allow them to rest a bit while the wine sauce is warming up. Drizzle the sauce over and around the hens and spoon the mushrooms in a mound at the center of the platter.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. ground sage
5 c. chicken broth
1 small onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c. Mascarapone cheese (cream cheese can be substituted)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the prepared squash with some olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a sprayed roasting pan. cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes. remove foil and flip squash around to brown the edges. continue roasting uncovered for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, turn into a serving dish, and toss with the ground sage. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, saute the onion, garlic, butter, and olive oil.

When the onions and garlic are transparent and pungent, add the Arborio rice and continue sauteing until the rice begins to brown, then add 1 c. of the broth (be careful because the steam will really come up off the pan!).

Stir the bubbling broth and rice and then lower the heat to just above a simmer. Stir frequently until the broth is almost absorbed and then add 1 more cup of broth. Continue stirring frequntly until that broth is almost absorbed and add the third cup of broth... repeat the process. After the fourth cup of broth of broth is almost absorbed, taste the rice to see if it is close to done...

Risotto should be a bit al dente... the nature of Arborio is such that it gets a creamy soft outer coating with a soft/firm nugget at its center. This is where personal taste enters the picture. If the risotto is still too firm for your taste, add part of the fifth cup of broth and continue stirring now and then.

When the rice tastes perfectly al dente, fold in the Parmesan and Mascarapone cheese and stir gently to melt.

Fold in the roasted squash, turn into a serving dish and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Can't be anything wrong with a recipe that starts with 1/2 cup of butter! Sounds wonderful. I haven't cooked Cornish Hens in years. Will have to give them another try. Thanks for the nudge.


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