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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

Salted Hefeweizen Brioche Rolls

Napa SmithWheat is a perfect baking beer. It has crisp, clean flavors, sweetness and bold tones that hold up to the oven. A smooth wheat beer with citrus and peach notes.

I enjoyed this beer, the baking, the drinking, the flavors. It was an easy beer to enjoy and gave me a sense of the brewery. Relaxed, comfortable and welcoming. I’ve lived in California most of my life, and traveled all over the world and I have a firm believe that Napa is a place that needs to be experienced, a beautiful escape from the rest of reality. Winding along the back roads of  Napa county, meeting locals, sampling the local food, drinks, produce…You’ll feel like you are living in a distant land far away from the life you know. In Napa, people love to eat, drink and cook with only local ingredients. It’s charming, as if Napa could exist all on it’s own. A little bubble, a snow globe of a world, swirling around itself filled with fresh-baked bread, handmade pies and locally sourced beer.

 Salted Hefeweizen Brioche Rolls

1/2 cup room temperature Hefeweizen Beer (Napa Smith Wheat Preferred)

1 envelope of dry active yeast (1/4 oz)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoons sea salt,

3 large eggs

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Topping:

1 tbs melted butter

1 tbs sea salt

  1. Add the beer to a microwave safe container heat in the microwave for 10 seconds, test the temperature (you want it between 105 and 110) and repeat until the desired temperature is reached. Put the beer in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to get foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, salt and sugar and mix on low with the dough hook attachment until shaggy, flaky lumps form (about 1 1/2 minutes).
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined.
  5. Add the softened butter (softened is important), beat until the dough gathers around the hook and is smooth and shiny.
  6. Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball in inside.
  7. Wrap with plastic wrap leave in a warm place until it’s double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Grab the dough at the sides until it has deflated.
  9. Allow to rise a second time at room temperature, until it has doubled in size, deflating every 15 minutes by grabbing the sides, about 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from the bowl and place on a floured surface, shape into a long log, about 4 inches wide and 1 foot long.
  11. Using a sharp knife, cut in 3 equal sized pieces.
  12. Then cut each of those pieces in half (you will now have 6 pieces.)
  13. Now cut each of those pieces in half and you will have 12 equal sized pieces.
  14. Each of these pieces will be a roll, but you have to make some more cuts first.
  15. Cut each slice into 3 equal sized pieces, rolling each into a ball and placing all three into the same well of a greased muffin tin. Repeat for each slice.
  16. Cover with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and allow to double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  17. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sea salt. This is when you break out the fanciest salt you have. Or buy some just for the occasion.
  18. Preheat the oven to 400. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.
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