*Moving to Oregon: 16 days*
What started out as a half-assed attempt to make Maggie Beer’s Chicken Parcels (The Boyfriend and I are working through a MasterChef Australia addiction) turned into this much simpler (and faster) recipe, with a lot less sugar. Thankfully, still came out delicious. Cornish Game Hens are an excellent quick fix for dinner, but don’t expect any leftovers – these tiny birds are personal-size.
I called this recipe the “Quiet Game” hen because when I put these babies down on the table… The Boyfriend and I didn’t say a word until all that was left was a pile of bones. Deeelicious (and perfect for “grown-ups only” date night). If you don’t have a roasting rack, I would really recommend getting one – just using a pan will lead to burnt or soggy skin on the bottom of the bird, and we want an even golden-brown all around. I should also point out the importance of a meat thermometer, they are really cheap and will take all the guesswork out of the delicious meal you just prepared.
2 Cornish Game Hens
6 oz baby bella mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove elephant garlic (or 3 cloves garlic), finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) grass-fed butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
Non-stick cooking spray
3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning
Pre-heat oven to 375*F (first make sure the oven is empty, this is how The Boyfriend melted my egg man). Line the roasting pan with foil, spray rack with non-stick spray.
Thoroughly wash mushrooms under cold water, pat dry and finely chop. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and thyme leaves to the pan. Sautee on medium heat until onions and mushrooms begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the turmeric to the pan and mix well. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup water with 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon) and use this mixture to deglaze the pan. Continue simmering the mixture until the liquid reduces by half, approximately 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. This will be the stuffing for your hens.
Carefully rinse hens under cool water, removing giblet bag, and making sure not to splash onto your counter – if you do, remember to wipe with Clorox or other germ-killing wipe/spray when cleaning up. Pat hens dry and set on cutting board. Remove any large pieces of fat, there are usually some on either side of the tail, but they peel off pretty easily and don’t require much knife work.
Room temperature butter is great, but if it’s right out of the fridge, heat in a microwave-safe bowl for about 10 seconds or until soft, but not liquid. Add salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to the butter and mix well. Cover each bird with a coat of the butter mixture – inside, outside, under the skin, get it everywhere. Combine any remaining butter with the stuffing mixture and loosely stuff the cavity of each hen, I used about 4 tablespoons each. Any of the mixture that was left over, I spread on top of the bird, it came out really nice and crispy and kept the meat extra moist.
Carefully place the hens on the greased roasting rack so that the stuffing does not fall out and roast in the oven for approximately one hour or until internal temperature reaches 165*F.
Serve immediately with side of choice. Utensils optional. Enjoy!