The holidays are just about here and for most of you that means one thing, turkey. By the time Christmas gets here most of you will have had turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, need I go on? I thought it might be nice to give you an alternative as well as making the flavor a little different. I served this with baked yam wedges and steamed broccoli for a nutritious simple meal.
RECIPE: Serves 6-8
4 Cornish game hens
1 orange (4 quarters)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp.ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp. agave (natural sweetener)
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
squeeze of lemon juice
Broccoli (add a squeeze of lemon juice when cooked)
Begin by putting all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and on medium low heat, reduce it to about half, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to have the heat too high as the sauce will evaporate too quickly and you won’t get the intense flavor desired. Once the glaze is ready, put it in a bowl and refrigerate until needed. I always try to have the glaze done ahead of time so that when it’s cooling the flavors with marry together better. The glaze should be completely chilled before basting the chicken.
Next pre-heat oven to 380 degrees.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Season with S&P inside and out and stuff bird with 1/4 fresh orange. Lay chickens on roasting tray and brush with glaze all over the flesh. You’ll be basting again so use about 1/2 and keep the remainder for the next session. Pop them in the oven. Once the tray is level on your oven shelf pour enough broth into pan with the birds, coating the bottom of the pan without overflowing. This is a technique I love to use with all white meat i.e. chicken, turkey, pork. You’ll find that these meats in particular are very lean so there isn’t enough fat to keep the meat moist. By using this broth technique the broth will evaporate while roasting and create steam in the oven to help keep the meat juicy.
You’ll be cooking the birds for approx. 1 hour or until internal temp. of 160 degrees but note you’ll be re-glazing at the halfway mark with the remainder of the glaze, approx. 30 minutes into cooking.
The way I check to see if the bird is cooked all the way through is to cut the skin between the breast and the drumstick and if the juice runs clear you’re in good shape.
While the birds are cooking, prepare the yams by cutting into wedges. Think steak cut chips. In a mixing bowl toss yams in a tbsp of olive oil, S&P and paprika. Spread onto foiled oven tray. These will take about 20 minutes so time accordingly with the birds. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over potatoes just before serving. NOTE: Always let the cooked birds rest for 10 min after cooking. This allows the meat to relax after the intense heat of the oven and ensures the juices will stay in the bird (and not on your cutting board) when you carve them up.
I love using game hens for a couple of reasons mainly due to the light flavor and the fact that they cook relatively quickly. I’m a breast man myself (now now) and both turkey and chicken breast are packed with protein 26 grams and 24 grams per 3 oz skinless portion, respectively and both are also low in calories and cholesterol. Perhaps that’s why I eat so much of them on a daily basis, alternating of course!
To see more of my recipes and learn about me and my healthy food philosophies head over to www.thehealthyirishman.com.