Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rice-stuffed game hen

I love cooking Cornish game hens but once I start eating them, I remember how much work it is to disassemble such a small bird. A couple of nights ago, I tried another game hen recipe, this one from the Frugal Gourmet's original cookbook.

Frug called this "Game Hens with Lebanese Dressing." The dressing is really stuffing; "dressing" makes me think of salads. The recipe is written for four game hens; I cooked one hen and halved the stuffing ingredient amounts. First off, you saute half an onion (sliced) in a tablespoon of butter until the onion is just starting to brown. I discovered that my butter was all played out, so I used olive oil instead. Once the onion has browned, add half a cup of rice, a cup of water, some pine nuts (1/16 of a cup, if you really want to halve the recipe precisely), quarter of a teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon, and salt to taste. As this cooks down (I let it go until most of the water was absorbed), it looks dirty from the spices, but I suppose it really shouldn't be called "dirty rice."

Anyway, once the stuffing is done, pack it into the cavities of two game hens (if you have one, like I did, you can just use the rest of the stuffing on the side). Set the oven to 325 F and cook for an hour. Frug recommends serving the hens split in half, but I didn't do that.

The stuffing flavor was rather subtle, but nice. The spices and pine nuts added sweetness but not in an excessive way. The chicken juices made their way into the rice as well. Most of the skin was done to a paper-like brittleness that was very chewy; I probably should have brushed the skin with something (honey would've been good, and would've fit with the other ingredients) to keep it a little more moist.

All in all, it was a little something different in terms of roasting a bird, and very simple.

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