It sure seems like everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Hopefully I can get back on track with posting.
I cooked cornish game hens for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of pictures of this dish. It did get a little hectic in the kitchen which I'm sure most of you understand since it was probably like that at your house.
The method I used to prepare these cornish hens made way for a fall off the bone tender, juicy and really tasty treat! I cooked five game hens, but depending on the size of the Dutch oven you use, you may be able to cook six at one time.
Wash each of the hens thoroughly inside and out, remove all of the debris from the inside cavity. Pat them dry with paper towels and set them aside. Heat a Dutch oven (5-quart size) on the stove to medium-high heat. Pour in 1/4 cup of peanut oil and heat it until it begins to "ripple". The oil needs to be at least this hot in order to sear the game hens, and seal in their juices.
While the oil is heating, generously season the hens with salt, black pepper and red pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, and dried basil.
One or two at a time, lower the hens into the hot oil and fry them down until they are richly browned all over (be extra careful that you don't tear the skin). Once browned, remove them from the pot and allow them to drain on several sheets of paper towels.
After browning all of the hens, immediately drop into the Dutch oven immediately 2 cups of sliced oyster mushrooms and fry them down until they too reach a golden-brown color. Then add in 2 cups of diced onions onions, 3/4 cup of diced bell pepper, and 6 cloves of garlic mashed and fry down these seasonings until they wilt, soften, and pick up the rich brown color of the mushrooms.
And here is where this dish really comes together! While continually stirring the pot, drop in the 1/4 cup of parsley finely chopped, 1/2 cup fin chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet, 1/4 cup dry sherry, 1 cup of chicken stock, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour.
Lower the heat to simmer and cook the mixture for approximately 10 minutes, whisking it occasionally to keep the flour from lumping. When the seasoning base is completely blended and smooth, turn off the burner and spoon half of the mixture from the Dutch oven into a heat safe bowl.
Nestle the game hens down into the pot (stand them on their heads, breast-side down and drumsticks up). They should fit and hold each other upright.
Evenly ladle over the game hens the mixture you previously removed from the Dutch oven.
Cover the pot and place it into a pre-heated 350-degree oven and roast the hens until they are tender and basted in their own juices. They should be done to perfection in about an hour and a half.
1. The hens create their own juices as they pot-roast, but if you'd like more than what is rendered out naturally you can always stir into the pot a little extra chicken stock after the poultry is cooked.
2. Be careful when removing the hens from the Dutch oven. Chef's spoons work great for lifting them out of the pot.