Asian Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Cantaloupe Salad

IMG_0929Originally I found a version of this recipe in a magazine, and what really drew my interest was how easy it looked. For years I had been under the impression that cooking game hens was a lengthy process. I was delighted to discover that game hens can be found frozen in most grocery stores, usually for a cheap price. These glazed hens are delicious and can be easily made on a weeknight. I do recommend having butchers twine on hand in the kitchen, as well as purchasing your hens the day before so that they can defrost in the fridge overnight. Please enjoy these spicy, tangy, sweet and delicious hens!

Prep Time: Cook Time: Level: Serves:
25 min 40 min-60 min Intermediate 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cornish game hens, roughly 1 ½ lbs each, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons Asian chili sauce (Sambal Oelek brand can be found in most grocery stores)
  • ½ small cantaloupe
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 cucumber
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 500°. Thoroughly rinse off hens in cold water then pat dry. Season the hens all over with salt and pepper then truss with butchers twine. (If you need help trussing there are some great videos available on YouTube)
  2. Place hens in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  3. While the hens are roasting, whisk the chili sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt together. Set half on this chili mixture aside in a bowl to use on the salad.
  4. Baste hens with the remaining chili mixture, and then continue to cook until the hens register at 160° on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, which should take 20-30 more minutes.
  5. While hens cook, peel and thinly slice shallot and the cantaloupe.  Peel, seed and thinly slice the cucumber. Combine the cucumber, cantaloupe, shallot and toss with the remaining half of the chili mixture dressing.
  6. Once the hens are done, use kitchen shears to cut the twine and serve the hens with the salad, drizzle any juices from the roasting pan over the hens and salad as a finishing touch.
  7. Enjoy!

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