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Beer Brined Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Chili Sauce

Beer Brined Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Chili Sauce 3

I’ve started to think about dishes that have made an impact on me over the years, a salt roasted whole fish I ate in italy, curried soup I had in New York, even pancakes from my Grandfather. I didn’t grow up in a culinary family, I grew up in a defrost-and-feed family and decided I wanted to figure out this cooking thing when I was in High School. I met a guy who was older than me, SO old, in fact, that he had his own apartment. I wanted to impress him, so I offered to cook him dinner. Newly licensed, I drove to the grocery store all by myself for the first time. I had planned to buy steak and try to figure that out, but a combination of seeing these tiny chickens and realizing how expensive good steak was made the decision easy. Two "tiny chickens" were only $4, and I peeled the price tag off so that he wouldn’t know how cheap I was.

I just rubbed them with butter (probably margarine, to be honest) and salt and pepper, and cooked them until I thought they were done. They turned out amazing, I think I was more impressed than he was. It was my first official Kitchen Win, Roasted Cornish Game Hens at 16 years old, in the kitchen of a crappy post war era apartment off George Washington Way.

I haven’t made them since (until now), and I can’t even tell you why. I make roast chicken all the time, and this is just as easy, and if you are having a dinner party, it’s really impressive, everyone gets their own tiny chicken. You don’t even have to tell them how cheap they are.

Beer Brined Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Chili Sauce 2

A beer brine is incredible, the combination of the subtle flavors and the meat tenderizing properties of beer give you a fantastic final product. I usually use brown ale, I love the notes of molasses and nuts that are easy to find in brown ales. I remembered Brother Thelonious from North Coast, a strong, dark, Belgian Style Abbey Ale . The notes of nuts, fruit, malt, brown sugar and cherries, along with a relatively high ABV of 9.3%, it was exactly what I was looking for. North Coast is a stellar brewery out of Northern California, that has brought us such hits as Old Rasputin and PranQster. North Coast has been preaching the craft beer gospel for 25 years, producing beer that is diverse and on point, you’ll never hear anything but praise out of me for North Coast.

Another reason to enjoy the Brother Thelonious is that a portion of the proceeds go to support the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, It’s a beer with a mission.

The sauce can be made with what you have "leftover" from the beer brine, but let’s be honest, it probably won’t last that long. You can also use a lighter wheat beer, or a pale ale. Just a warning, alcohol intensifies heat so the higher ABV you use, the higher the heat level will be. Removing the seeds from the pepper gives you a greater control over the sauces final heat level. Most of the heat of a pepper is found in the seeds, with almost no flavor.The flesh of the pepper still has significant heat, but also contains the flavor of the pepper. If you are worried about the heat not being high enough, reserve some of the seeds and add them into the sauce as needed.

 

Beer Brined Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Chili Sauce 4

Beer Brined Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Chili Sauce

Yield: Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

    For the chicken:
  • 12 ounces Belgian ale, wheat beer, or brown ale
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tbs white sugar
  • 1 tbs whole cloves
  • 2 cups ice
  • 2 Cornish game hens (1.75 to 2 lbs each)
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 habanero chili
  • 2 cara cara oranges, juiced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1 tbs white sugar
  • ¼ cup wheat beer
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 tbs red chili flakes

Directions

  1. In a pot over medium high heat, add the wheat beer, salt, sugar and cloves. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat. Add the ice, stir until dissolved.
  2. Rinse the game hens inside and out, place together in a large bowl. Pour the brine over the hens, refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 425.
  4. Remove hens from brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
  5. Place in a roasting rack of a roasting pan or on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut lemon into quarters. Place one quarter into each hen, place the remaining two in the roasting pan beneath the hens.
  6. In a small bowl combine melted butter, salt and pepper.
  7. Brush the hens liberally with the butter mixture.
  8. Roast at 425 for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165.
  9. While the hens are roasting, make the sauce. Using gloves remove the seeds from the habanero, discard seeds and stem, chop remaining pepper.
  10. Add habanero, orange juice, cornstarch and white sugar to a saucepan over high heat, whisk frequently until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, add beer and vinegar, bring to a boil just until re-thickened, stir in about half (1-2 tsp) of the 1 tbs chili flakes. Taste sauce, add additional red chili flakes for a higher level of heat.
  11. Serve the orange chili sauce in small sauce dishes along side the hens for dipping.

Notes

This recipe makes an abundance of sauce, enough for 4 to 6 servings. If you make more Game Hens, you won't need to double the sauce unless you make 8 or more servings. If you are worried about the heat not being high enough, reserve some of the seeds and add them into the sauce as needed.

https://domesticfits.com/beer-brined-roasted-cornish-game-hens-with-orange-chili-sauce/

Beer Brined Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Orange Chili Sauce

How To: Roll Cut and Stuff Pork Loin

This isn’t a recipe. Not really. It’s how to actually cut this sucker so you can stuff food inside of it. 

What you’ll need:

1.5 lb pork loin

Sharp knife

Kitchen twine

Whatever you are going to stuff your pork with

Bread crumbs

Baking dish



Preheat oven to 375. 

Place your pork loin on a cutting surface. This is a basic diagram of where you will be cutting. 

Start cutting closest to the cutting board, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the bottom of the loin

Don’t cut through, stop with about 1/2 inch to go. Then open the loin like a book that you are about 3/4 of the way through, with more pages on the left than the right. 

Make your final cut, bisecting the thicker side of the loin.

 Open the final flap. 

I like to trim off the uneven front and back, making it cleaner and easy to stuff

Stuff your pork with your stuffing. Need some suggestions? I’m here to help you. 

Here is a gorgeous loin from the beautiful and fabulous Elizabeth of Guilty Kitchen. Click on her pork loin picture to take you to her recipe, featuring bacon, feta and spinach. 

Here is another one from Bellalimento, featuring spinach, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms, click on the picture for the recipe.

OK, now that we are back from those gorgeous blogs, we can continue. 

fill your open pork loin with your desired filling, leaving about 1/2 inch on all sides. 

My filling is just a simple olive oil, garlic, spinach, gorgonzola and bread crumbs. 

Starting at the side closest to you, roll the pork tightly. 

Once that is rolled, cut about 2 feet of kitchen twine. 

Tie one end of the twine tightly around one end of the loin. 

Place the long end of the twine about two inches down the top, center of the loin. Securing the two inch line in place with your thumb, bring the rest of the twine underneath the loin. 

Bring the kitchen twine back underneath the twine elbow you just created and pull tightly. 

Continue this process two of three more times down the length of the loin until you reach the end. Secure tightly at the far end. 

Roll the loin in bread crumbs and bake at for 30-40 minutes of until the internal temp is about 160. You still want a slight hint of pink in the center of the loin. 

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