eat something good…
Every once in a while little chickens made an appearance at the dinner table. We (the kids) felt fancy – primarily because we were eating chicken with a long, complicated name… and we got a whole bird… and we could pretend we were giants… That is, until dad saw us playing with our food and would pinch the bejeezus out of our sides… and make us eat our dinner sitting on the toilet….
But when you get right down to it – there really isn’t anything fancy about a Rock Cornish Game Hen; the name is somewhat of a misnomer. It’s just a tiny one pound hen. Grown in about 20 to 25 days, the “game hen” is a hybrid mix of a Cornish Game (just a name of a chicken) and a White Rock Chicken – both smaller chicken breeds. They’re bred for larger breasts and a better fat-to-meat ratio, giving you that full blown roasted hen feel, in a single serving package.
I used to buy them a lot, because I liked that chicken dinner taste you get with them. Whereas with a small fryer – that chicken-y taste is often lacking. Unfortunately, sometime 10 years or so ago, they stopped tasting like hens – and started tasting like fryers… and I didn’t know why…
I wasn’t careful what I was buying. They were injected with water – flavoring – preservatives, and the like, and they just didn’t taste right. Here’s the thing, You really have to look at the poultry you buy to insure you’re getting something edible.
Hormone-Free, No Water Added, No Additives – with costs between $1.25 to $2.25, are all good things to look for.
Things I’ve seen on “Game Hens” that aren’t going to matter:
So, the Chicky Dinner…
I wanted to do a typical herb hen roast on the birds, and since I still had some of the Coriander Chutney I bought from the international market some time back, I decided on:
boy, that’s a mouthful…
2 – 1 Pound Game Hens
2 Tablespoons Softened Butter (or reasonable facsimile)
1 Tablespoon Coriander Chutney (you “can” make your own… the recipe is HERE. However, it’s just as good bought from the market… it just depends on how difficult you want to make your life.)
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
Cracked Black Pepper
Tools of the Trade:
Foil Lined Roasting Pan
Rinse and pat the hens dry – inside and out
Give the cavity a good dusting of salt and pepper
Flip the bird over on its breast. And with your fingers, work the skin loose under the wings and across the breast plate to create half dollar sized pockets between the skin and breast meat.
Meanwhile, Mix together the butter, chutney, and lemon juice, and work into a paste. Take half of the compound butter and work under the skin into the pockets you’ve made – do this for both hens. Smear any remaining butter inside the hen cavity.
Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes
Preheat the over to 400
Place the hens (breast side up) in the foil-lined pan and roast at 400 for approximately 50 minutes – or until the internal temp at the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees
Be sure to baste the hens with the pan drippings 1/2 way through the cooking time
Serve with roasted potatoes.. or roasted artichokes and potatoes, and some broiled tomatoes (since game hens are kind of a 60’s thing to eat.)