I've mentioned before how much I love The Oregonian's FOODday column. Here is another 'gem' from their archives. The hardest part of this recipe was having enough patience for the game hens to thaw.☺ I made a half a recipe & that was plenty for the three of us. This dish was simply amazing. I will most definitely make this again!☺
|Cross section with the rice stuffing.|
|This was the stuffing minus the rice. |
It was so delicious, I ate several soup spoonfuls before stopping myself.
|Stuffing with rice.|
|This is the curry powder I used.|
|Curry mixed with olive oil = fragrant paste.|
|Stuffed & ready for the oven!|
Curry-Rubbed Game Hens Stuffed With Basmati Rice, Pecans and Cranberries from chef Jeremy Eckel for The Oregonian's FOODday.
Published December 20, 2011
Makes 4 generous servings
With their crisp, curry-rubbed skin and moist basmati rice stuffing, these easy game hens are sure to please and will look fantastic on your holiday table. If you don't like heat, use a mild curry powder.
•4 Cornish game hens
•5 tablespoons Madras-style or other hot curry powder (see note)
•3 tablespoons olive oil
•1 cup basmati rice
•1 1/2 cups water
•1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
•3 teaspoons olive oil
•1 small onion, minced
•6 tablespoons dried cranberries
•1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (see note)
•2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
•1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
To make game hens: Sprinkle the hens inside and out with kosher salt. In a small bowl, mix the curry powder and olive oil to make a paste. Rub paste all over the hens, making sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies. For the best flavor, refrigerate hen for 12 to 24 hours before cooking to allow the rub to penetrate.
To make stuffing: In a small saucepan, combine the rice, water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to very low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sauté until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked rice to a large mixing bowl. Add the sautéed onion, dried cranberries, pecans, cilantro and curry powder. Toss until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
If serving one whole bird per serving, stuff the hens with the rice mixture, tie the legs together and set them on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast the hens for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and sizzling, and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.
If serving half a hen per person, open the hens by using kitchen scissors to cut along the backbone. Open the hens and lay skin side down on a cutting board. Make a tiny cut above the breastbone and flatten the breast so the hens lie flat. Tuck the wings behind the body of the birds. Spoon the stuffing into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and lay the hens, skin-side up, on top. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Remove from oven and heat broiler to high. Broil the hens about 6 inches from the element until sizzling and brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully so you do not burn the skin of the hens. Using kitchen scissors, cut each bird in half along the breastbone and serve hot.
Note: If you already have curry powder and it's mild, you can add a little cayenne pepper to taste and use as a substitute for the Madras curry powder.
Note: To toast nuts, spread on baking sheet and bake in 350-degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until they start to brown.