Item: Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
Found in: Grocery stores
Cost: Approximately $2.50 per 4-cup container
Great for: So many things! Braising things, cooking risotto, making sauces. And so on.
I almost always have chicken broth on hand in my kitchen. It is a must-have kitchen staple for making rice, risotto, sauces and more. It’s a flavor-booster. And what better way to demonstrate its worth than with a pan full of plump, moist and delicious Cornish game hens?
In the fall of 2007, my dear friend Daniel had just moved far far away to Madrid, Spain. Dan is the best and funniest person in the universe. I feel so lucky to know him and know that if you could package him into a box it would sell out in every store worldwide. But I would never want that to happen because quite frankly, I don’t want to share him. Needless to say, that fall, I spent Thanksgiving in Madrid. My friend Brooke (whom I’ve mentioned in previous posts), Dan’s best friend Vinnie, and I all decided to ditch the traditional family gathering and fly to Spain, boxes of stove-top stuffing in tow. (By request of Daniel, of course. I would never buy that stuff.)
After a day of mind-numbing jet-lag, we ventured out in search of Thanksgiving provisions. This proved more difficult than expected. The closest thing to a holiday turkey we came across in Madrid were a bunch of Cornish game hens. “That will have to do.” I thought. And it did.
This fall, 3MBB received some requests for a good holiday Cornish game hen recipe, and I am happily responding. I served these delicious hens with herb and orange roasted carrots and beets.
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries,* crushed in mortar with pestle
- 4 (22 oz) Cornish game hens, thawed if frozen, patted dry
- 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Mix 1/4 cup thyme, shallots, oil, orange peel, garlic, and crushed juniper berries in small bowl for marinade. Rub marinade all over hens. Place hens in large roasting pan; cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour 2 cups broth into roasting pan with hens. Sprinkle hens with salt and pepper. Cover pan tightly with foil. Roast for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler.
Pour pan juices from hens into small saucepan; add dried currants and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour remaining two cups of broth into roast pan and broil hens in bottom third of oven covered with foil. This will braise the hens and ensure a moist and tender meat. Be careful and check on the hens periodically to avoid burning. Remove the hens from the oven when lightly browned and an instant read thermometer measures 190 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the hen. This should take about 30 minutes.
Let hens stand for 5 minutes before serving. Cut hens in half along the breast bone and serve as halves or desired portion size.