Cornish Game Hen – Not as Haughty as it Sounds
By Anonymous in Food on Jul 29, 2005 2:43AM
If you are like Chicagoist, normally you don’t eat dinner as much as “re-fuel.” However, as an adult, you should be able to make one good meal, be it for your parents, friends, or to impress your significant other. And for that, nothing is better than roast chicken. And trust us, they are ALL tired of your spaghetti.
Chicagoist doesn’t usually like to roast a whole chicken…we don’t want to eat it for every meal during the week and sometimes chicken gets that slimy residue after a few days (you know what we’re talking about). We’ve found the perfect solution is to make Cornish Game Hen. It sounds like some hoity-toity bird Prince Charles got while hunting, but it’s really like a small chicken, usually just about a pound. It’s perfect for that Sunday afternoon, when brunch is wearing off and you are coming down off of your caffeine high. Add in mashed potatoes (made with a little sour cream and milk) and green beans or peas (you need something with color on the plate, as Chicagoist’s mom would say), and you are good to go.
You can buy Cornish Game Hen at the grocery store, and they don’t need all the prep work a chicken does…all the innards are removed (good riddance). Our recommendation for the beginner, whether you are cooking chicken or Cornish Game Hen, is to keep it simple. We use a pre-mixed chicken spice rub and season the outside, inside, and under the skin (to separate skin from the bird, using a spoon helps separate the skin from the meat). Put a small amount of butter/margarine/olive oil or whatever is nutritionally correct these days (okay, we use spray margarine!) on the outside to make the skin crispy, and stick in the oven according to directions on the package it came in (if you are like Chicagoist, you are pulling it out of the garbage to check the time and temp because you forgot). Check the meat with a thermometer in the thigh (the chicken's!) when done cooking to make sure it is 190 degrees. You don’t want to have Sam & Ella stopping by later (say it out loud). Chicagoist has a great roasting stand, something you put the hen on so it looks like it’s standing upright so the fat drips off, or you can put in an over-proof pan or dish. Now Chicagoist has heard a couple of different theories on roasting a chicken in a pan including breast side up only and breast side down for half the cooking time, then put the breasts up. Fill in your own dirty joke here. We would also recommend covering lightly with tinfoil for the first 45 minutes (place over the bird loosely), then remove it at the end to give the skin a nice golden, crispy outside. It’s easy to make and will impress your guests. Getting the lumps out of the mashed potatoes? That’s a story for another day.