Feb 10

La Fuji Mama’s Papa’s Delicious Cornish Game Hens

in Chicken/Poultry, Main Course, Recipes by Type

La Fuji Mama asked me to guest blog for her and I had a wonderful rabbit recipe I was going to use. However, the store I usually purchase rabbit from was out (perhaps because of the recent death of John Updike?), and Cornish game hens were sitting where the rabbit should have been. So having promised LFM and in need to deliver, I purchased five Cornish game hens and started looking around the store for some ingredients which would likely go with them. I quickly found garlic, potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and bacon and figured that those items, along with what we might have at home, would make a tasty meal. I then got home, found a 5 star recipe on allrecipes.com for Cornish game hen with garlic and rosemary, added some items from my rabbit recipe that looked good, made some other variations that seemed reasonable and more to my liking, and started at it.

It had been a long time since I had Cornish game hens, and my recollection was that they were not much of a meal. However, these hens were 20 ounces. A half-hen is plenty for a normal person and one was more than enough for me (and I have a big appetite). I thawed them for 24 hours, in the refrigerator over-night and out of the refrigerator the rest of the time. That was about perfect. I took three heads of garlic and separated them into cloves. I like garlic and these had hefty cloves. I would have used all five, but I remembered that La Fuji Mama’s Mama can smell the garlic eminating from my skin, so I wanted to reduce the amount of time I would have to sleep on the couch (but it would have been better with the five heads).

We have a rosemary plant and lemon tree in the back yard, so I picked a bunch of rosemary and a couple of lemons.

I took 10 full pieces of bacon, two for each hen, and looped them over the Makin’ Bacon contraption that LFM’sM bought at Wal-Mart. It is wonderful. You put it in the microwave, cover it with a paper towel, and get beautifully cooked bacon without all of the mess.

I preheated the oven to 450 degrees and rubbed the hens with olive oil, seasoning each with salt and pepper. A lemon slice and large sprig of rosemary were then placed in the cavity of each bird. About the same time, I boiled a two pound bag of baby red potatoes, skins on, for ten minutes. With about five minutes of boiling left, I added the asparagus to the boiling water on top of the potatoes. After boiling, I used the rest of the rosemary, added olive oil, cut the potatoes in half, and coated the potatoes in the rosemary and olive oil mixture. In a deep roasting pan, I inserted the hens, placed the garlic cloves and potatoes around them, and put the pan into the oven for 25 minutes.

While the hens were roasting, I chopped up two bunches of green onions and four small sticks of celery and started to fry them in a frying pan with some olive oil and a little bit of the bacon grease. A little later I added the asparagus, and shortly after added an 8 ounce package of fresh mushrooms, coated in olive oil and cut in half. After the birds were in the oven for 25 minutes, I removed them, reduced the oven to 350 degrees, and placed two mostly cooked pieces of bacon over each hen. Then I poured a liquid over the hens consisting of one-third cup of chicken broth, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and one-third cup of white grape juice. The birds were then put back in the oven for another 25 minutes. With about ten minutes left, I added the sauteed mushrooms to the pan. When finished, I separated out the birds, placed foil over them, then separated out the potatoes and mushrooms and placed foil over them.

The remaining garlic and juices were transferred to a frying pan and boiled for about six minutes until they had a saucy consistency. That stuff is ambrosia. If I could change anything, it would be to make more of the sauce (and of course, add some more garlic to it).

The hens were cut in half lengthwise, the saucy ambrosia was spooned over the top, potatoes and mushrooms were placed around the halves, and then a mound of the onion, celery and asparagus mixture was added as well.

The birds were very tender and juicy and had a hint of a sweet flavor, greatly enhanced by the ambrosia-like garlic sauce. They were WONDERFUL. Those who like meat well done will want to cook the birds longer. LFM’s M is not a celery fan and would have preferred the celery be left out of the onion, asparagus and celery mixture. However, I liked the celery. To top it off, we had a bottle of blood orange Italian soda which matched the meal perfectly. This was a meal we’ll have again. They were the best Cornish game hens I’ve ever eaten.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

ChefBliss.com February 11, 2009 at 1:12 am

These look fantastic. I haven’t has game hens in probably 20 years! Yikes!! And the blood orange italian soda, yum!! Hope you are having a blast with the family!!


Bobbi February 11, 2009 at 9:45 am

Thanks for sharing Papa! Looks great!!!


Bob February 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Those look wicked good! I haven’t had cornish game hens in forever.


LollyChops February 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I was with you guys in spirit!!!! This looks fantastic Fuji Papa! I love your little descriptions and funny comments thrown in! I do love those hens!! Thanks for such a fun post!


Madeline and Family February 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Wow, thanks for a amazing recipe for cornish game hens. I see them on sale all the time at Winco but, never bought one for any reason until now. Beautiful job!


The Kasdan Family February 12, 2009 at 8:53 am

Congrats on your new addition to the family!


Draffin Bears February 12, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Your meal looks and must have been delicous and thanks for sharing
Fuji Papa.

Enjoy the weekend.


Kristen February 15, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Oh my sweet onion chutney, those look good! My husband and I were just talking about how, if we hadn’t had a chance to go out last night, we’d have made game hens. I will keep your recipe in mind next time we’re cooking pigeons.


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