Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A preview for Thanksgiving

After having gone through the process of dressing our Cornish Game Hens we decided to do a Pre-Thanksgiving run on our meal and this is an outline of what we did.

Stuffing a bird and cooking it is not only difficult but can be dangerous, so we decided to take a different approach for the meal we prepare for our actual Thanksgiving Day meal. Looking at the photo you see we stuffed then wrapped the buttered hen in bacon. I am going to outline a different way to do it. The following are the things we used to make our wonderful tester for the Holidays:

1 Cornish Hen cut in Half
Bacon rolled very thin inside a plastic bag to cover the hens completely
Chicken stock to help with the cooking and retention of moisture

For the filling, which we did separately, we used the following:

Fresh sweet corn cut off the cob uncooked
Finely diced yellow onions
Sliced carrots
Plenty of sage (this makes a huge difference in the over all flavor profile of the dish) we used about 10 leaves

How did we do it?

Here we go...
We proceeded with preparation as follows:

Cut the hen in half lengthwise.
Bathe in butter.
Salt and pepper the hen.
Wrap in very thin bacon or, as I said, roll the bacon between plastic and carefully peel off and wrap the hen with it.

Cook the two halves in a nice dish, something you can present it with. I like to cook at a fairly high heat 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 min. Internal temp 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Now the hens are done.

During the cooking process you have plenty of time to make your festive veggie salsa with the ingredients above. I like to saute the carrots first in a mixture of butter and high quality olive oil. Once they come close to tender, the rest goes in, save for the sage which will be the last to add. The mixture will then be hot enough to bring the oils in the sage out and really marry with the rest of the vegetables. The same goes for the oregano and the paprika.

Beets.  Beets.  Beets...

Boil them until tender. Peel and if small enough serve whole with just a taste of the stem still attached. It's very Haut Cuisine to leave these attached and they taste wonderful. I don't actually suggest spicing them. I like them plain, but olive oil of high quality in a small amount does wonders.

Salt potatoes are small red potatoes that are boiled in HEAVILY salted water. When they come out of the pot the skins are covered with crystallized salt. You should always serve these with HOT drawn butter.

Now you can assemble the dish by placing your hot veggie stuffing in the center of the plate, resting the bird on top of part of it and dressing the rest of the plate with the beets and potatoes with drawn butter over them.

The reality of raising your own fowl brings about taste and texture and portion sizing. We chose our smallest hen weighing in at 2lbs 3/8 oz. It fed my wife, my son and myself. We also made stock with the carcass. (I'll write about that and sauces later). Tender, Juicy, Delicious. Absolutely fabulous and better than any hen I have ever purchased. So there you does pay off to do it yourself.

Bon Appetit!

If you have any questions about this recipe or amounts please feel free to comment or email us.


becky3086 said...

It is definitely great to do it yourself and it really makes you aware of any waste. I can't stand when I butcher a bird and then make them for supper and they don't all get eaten (thinking of quail here) and waste just isn't an option when you have done all that work.

Robin said...

Although we can't raise any of our own meat living in a city. We do grow basically all of our own veggies. One sure does take a different approach to your food when you grow it yourself. Nothing goes to waste!

Your Thanksgiving preview dinner sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!

wilderness said...

It is interesting you do a pre Thanksgiving dinner. When I saw salt potatoes had to check out facebook to see where you were from since they are such a central NY thing only to find that my DG is listed as a friend and also other mutual friends. Small world.

Jody said...

Nothing wasted. Everything enjoyed! The meal looks delicious.

kitsapFG said...

Lovely use of the fresh bird and veggies. I love preparing the Thanksgiving feast because so much of the meal comes from our garden. Something very satisfying about that.

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