I feel like I blinked and now it’s October. What happened to the summer? What happened to 2011? Halloween Candy is already in all of the stores. And you know what that means… Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.
I don’t often get to spend Thanksgiving with family these days, but I’ve had a bunch of super fun orphan Annie Thanksgiving get-togethers with various friends and friends of friends over the past several years. I roasted a turkey for the first time several years ago for one of these gatherings. It wasn’t quite as nerve-wracking as I’d imagined, but I could have used a confidence-boosting trial run on a miniature version, like a Cornish game hen.
And had I tried this recipe, I may have been tempted to flavor the turkey with this same lemongrass marinade. Not exactly the most traditional, but it sure is good. Lemongrass plays the leading role, but there’s definitely background notes of ginger and garlic. I know chicken or poultry skin is pretty divisive: some people love it and some people are totally grossed out by it. If you’re in the former camp, you’ll be in heaven with the crispy, flavorful skin on these hens. This would also be a super fun recipe to pull out at a dinner party… so unexpected.
Lemongrass Roasted Game Hens
Yield: 2-4 servings
* 1/4 cup sliced lemongrass (woody tips and outer leaves removed)
* 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
* 2 shallots, roughly chopped
* 1 Tablespoon cilantro stems
* 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 Tablespoon minced, fresh ginger
* 1/4 cup water
* 3 Tablespoons palm sugar (can substitute white sugar or brown sugar)
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 Cornish game hens, roughly 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds
Combine the lemongrass, garlic, shallots, cilantro stems, turmeric, ginger, water, palm sugar, and salt in a blender and process until smooth.
Pour the paste over the game hens, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the hens on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast the hens in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear. If you'd like, you can turn on the broiler for a minute or two to get the skin extra brown and crispy. Remove the hens from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving or serving.
Adapted from The Elephant Walk Cookbook