Bronzed Cornish Game Hens with Peach Salsa
Source: Healthy Cooking for Two (Or Just You)
Serves 2 – 4*
I love this cookbook (see source above). I’ve owned it since I was 15 and have used it infrequently over the last dozen years, but since moving in with the Hubster we’ve both turned to it time and again. This was the first time I tried this Cornish hen recipe, and I give it a thumb up. (I would give it two thumbs up, but I discovered that I don’t really like the flavor of game hens that much. However, I think I also just like my poultry dry and overcooked, and the cooking time for this recipe yielded succulent white meat that was juuuuust this side of “no thank you” for my personal preference. Terwilliger thought it was good, but I’m still going to cook it longer next time.) But anyway, it smelled amazing while it was cooking, and it was incredibly easy to make, so I would recommend it. Plus, the salsa was bangin’.
Terwilliger took care of the prep part of these little rascals (we started out with frozen hens, which I thawed in the fridge overnight and then on the counter during the day — don’t bother telling me if that isn’t sanitary because I’m just going to do it again) by washing them and removing the innards. You know what I’m talking about. Then I patted them dry and followed the recipe. Here you go:
2 Cornish game hens (20 – 24 ounces each)
4 green onions (white part only)
1 tsp. chopped garlic, divided
1/4 C. honey
2 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop onions, divide in half, and place each portion in the cavity of each hen. Spoon 1/2 tsp. garlic into each hen as well. (Note: I chopped the onion in big chunks, and I think the onion might have cooked better in the hens had it been more finely chopped. More steam for the henlings = more well-done while still being tender?) Place hens in a small glass cooking dish. (For single ones, use a pie plate. For these two, I used this random oversized loaf pan that we have — probably 10×6 in.) In a small bowl, whisk together honey and soy sauce. Drizzle or brush over hens. Cook hens, basting occasionally, for 1 hour or until the juices run clear at the thickest part of the thigh when pricked with a knife.**
*The recipe suggests cutting the hens in half after cooking, thus giving each portion half a hen, which would result in 4 servings. Terwilliger and I just each took a whole hen, which was easier (we tried cutting, and all I can say is, good grief. And we even have decent knives!), and there’s not all that much meat on the hens anyway. Just make it easier on yourself and take the whole hen. You can always have leftovers.
**Admitted weakness as a cook: I’m afraid of meat. I’m even more afraid of undercooked meat, and I just don’t cook it that often. So I don’t really know how to check for done-ness. Terwilliger took care of this part, too, but he went more by look/feel than by pricking. And like I said in the intro, I would probably cook this for a bit longer, maybe 1 hour plus 10 or 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the delicious salsa:
2 large, unpeeled peaches (I used nectarines and it was fine)
2 T. lime juice
2 T. finely chopped red onion
1 T. minced fresh ginger
2 T. chopped cilantro
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
Chop up the peaches and place in a medium-sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, then let salsa sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Serve the hens with hot rice and the peach salsa.
Final note: I made a delicious sandwich the next day by stuffing the leftover rice (which I combined with a few spoonfuls of the leftover honey/soy sauce marinade) and salsa in a pita and zapping it in the microwave for 40 seconds. Warning: the red pepper makes the salsa unexpectedly burn-your-lips hot, especially the day after when the flavors have had more time to meld. Be careful that you don’t end up with red-pepper-nectarine on the corner of your mouth that you only notice once it starts burning, like I did. It was still delicious, but also, you know, a little painful.