Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

I have vivid memories waking up when I was a kid to the smell of turkey roasting on Thanksgiving morning.

Our clan would arrive to my folks house around lunchtime and we would begin enjoying several delicious Vietnamese dishes, courtesy of mom and the aunties. While waiting for the turkey, we would watch movies, play games, snack, and catch up with the latest gossip.

We would then feast again once the turkey came out of the oven—a turkey with Asian flavors that Mom created with five-spice and tons of garlic. To this day, Mom’s turkey is still the juiciest and most flavorful I’ve ever had.

After the turkey and sides were devoured, we would continue with the chatting and games. And hours later, believe it or not, the family would have one last meal. Usually Cháo (Vietnamese rice porridge) or Bún Bò Huế (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)–something warm and comforting to close out the night.

Needless to say, it was among my favorite times of the year. Not just because of the incredible food (and trust me, it was incredible) but because of the memories that surrounded these feasts.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

But if prepping a turkey appears too daunting for you, opt for roasting a chicken or a few Cornish game hens. Either will provide a succulent alternative and can be roasted in a fraction of the time.

And because I subscribe to the belief that bacon makes EVERYTHING better, try out this compound butter filled with fresh herbs and smoked bacon I used on game hens I made for dinner for some friends. The smokiness from the bacon and bright herbs were wonderful with the hens.

With that Friends, stay tuned for Wednesday’s post as I share a scrumptious and easy dessert that could be appreciated at any Thanksgiving feast. And because I love y’all, I’ll be announcing a gorgeous giveaway, too. True Story!

Happy Monday and here’s to a short work week! Yippee!!!

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Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter
Serves 4

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
½ tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
kosher salt
black pepper
2 Cornish game hens, cleaned and dried
1 small yellow onion, quartered
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, pulse together the butter, bacon, and herbs until combined. Season the mixture with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.

Take each hen and slide your fingers between the skin and breast meat to loosen. Be careful not to tear the skin. Gently rub 2-3 tablespoons of the butter mixture underneath the skin. Inside the cavity, heavily salt and pepper the hen. Stuff the cavity with the remaining butter mixture and quartered onion. Rub the exterior of the hens with olive oil and generously season with kosher salt and black pepper. Truss the hens with kitchen twine.

Place the hens on a large, rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan. Rotating the pan halfway through cooking, roast the hens until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees–about 45-50 minutes. Carefully remove the hens and rest on a cutting board. Loosely tent with aluminum foil and allow hens to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Red Swiss Chard

While at the farmers’ market the other day, we ended up picking up some Red Swiss Chard. The color was so bright and vibrant that we were immediately drawn to it. In truth, we had never prepared it before–nor did we know what we were going to do with it. But, when at the farmers’ market, pick up what’s fresh.

Since the Chard is of the dark greens genre, we figured a low, slow saute with bacon would be a great preparation. And well, I’m always trying to find ways to add bacon into things.

As for the main dish, we settled on roasting a Cornish Game for an earthy, and somewhat rustic feel. Plus, Game Hen is perfect when prepping dinner for two. MUCH faster than roasting an entire chicken and the perfect serving size.

Our end result was absolutely delicious! HEARTY, savory, and just darn belly warming. We plated the hen with toasted pieces of bread underneath to soak up all juices. Waste not, want not! And as for the Chard—stunning! Slightly bitter yet much more tender than I expected. Of course, the bacon added a wonderful smokey taste but didn’t overpower the natural flavors of the greens. This is DEFINITELY being added to my veggies repertoire.

Have any other suggestions to pair Swiss Chard with? Leave me a comment as I’m always looking for some delish suggestions!

Cheers!

Searing the  Cornish Game Hen

Thoroughly clean and dry the Chard before chopping

Browning the Onions and Bacon

Sauteing the Chard


Cornish Game Hen with Swiss Chard
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Cornish Game Hen
1 Cornish Game Hen, cleaned and thoroughly dried
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
¼ Yellow Onion, quartered
4 Large Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Bouquet Garni (3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, 5 Springs Fresh Thyme, 3 Springs Fresh Sweet Basil)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Swiss Chard
1 Bunch of fresh Swiss Chard (washed , dried, and chopped. Approximately 5-6 cups.)
3 Slices Bacon, chopped
¼ Cup Yellow Onion, sliced
4-5 Large Garlic Cloves, finely minced
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Additional
4 Thick Slices of Bread, toasted (such as Ciabatta, Sourdough)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take Hen and slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 2 tablespoons Butter underneath skin. Inside the cavity, heavily salt and pepper the hen. Stuff the cavity with the remaining Butter, Yellow Onion, Garlic, and Bouquet Garni. Rub the exterior of the Hen with Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper the Hen. Tie the legs loosely together with kitchen twine.

In a dutch oven heated on medium high, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the Hen in the dutch oven, breast side down. Sear until golden brown—approximately 4-5 minutes. Flip Hen so that the breast faces upwards. Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven. After 25 minutes, remove lid. Roast Hen until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 degrees. Carefully remove from dutch oven and rest on cutting board. Cover and loosely tent with aluminum foil.

Move dutch oven to the range and turn flame to medium. Carefully add sliced Yellow Onion and chopped Bacon. Cook until Bacon is barely crispy. Add Garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add stems of Swiss Chard and stir. Cover and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove lid and add leaves of Swiss Chard. Sauté for an additional 3-4 minutes or until Chard is tender.  Remove from heat and stir in Vinegar. Salt and Pepper to taste.

To plate, place Swiss Chard on dish. Place two pieces of toasted bread on top of Chard. Proceed to place Hen on top of toast. Spoon any remaining juices from the Swiss Chard dutch oven over the chicken.

Serve and Enjoy!