Roasted Game Hens with Fall Succotash
Brining keeps these game hens moist when they are roasted. Use this brine for any roasted chicken.
• 2 cups water
• 1/2 bunch Italian (flat leaf) parsley
• 1 lemon, halved
• 1/2 cup kosher salt
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 4 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
• 6 cups ice water
• 2 (1-1/2 pound) Cornish game hens (thawed, if frozen)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Fall Succotash (recipe follows)
The brine: In Dutch oven combine 2 cups water and parsley. Squeeze juice from lemon halves into pan; add lemon halves. Add 1/2 cup salt, sugar, bay leaves, and whole peppercorns. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve salt and sugar. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, five minutes. Remove from heat; let steep 30 minutes. Add 6 cups ice water; stir. If brine is not colder than room temperature, refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Brine can be made a day in advance. Place game hens in very large self-sealing plastic bag set in deep pot or dish. Add chilled brine and seal. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
Remove game hens from brine; discard brine. With paper towels, blot game hens completely dry inside and out. Set game hens, breast-side up, on rack in 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Lightly season game hens inside and out with additional kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle game hens with olive oil on all sides. Let game hens stand 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400°F; set rack to upper third of oven. Roast game hens, uncovered 45 minutes or until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a knife (170°F). If game hens are not golden brown at this point, remove from oven and set oven to broil. Broil game hens 3 minutes or until skins are golden brown, being careful not to let them burn. Loosely cover game hens with foil; let rest 10 minutes. Cut hens in half down middle of each breastbone.
To serve, place 1 cup Fall Succotash (recipe follows) in center of serving plate. Place one half-game hen on top of succotash; garnish with fresh basil leaves. Makes 4 servings.
This colorful succotash makes a great side dish for any dinner. Double the recipe for a larger gathering.
• 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
• 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dillweed
• 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
• 1 tablespoon snipped fresh tarragon (optional)
• 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen lima beans
• 1-1/2 cups shelled fresh English peas or frozen peas
• 2 ears fresh sweet corn, cut from cob (1 cup) or frozen whole-kernel corn
• 1 large red sweet pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
• 1 small red onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
In small bowl combine basil, dillweed, chives, and tarragon; set aside. In another small bowl combine 4 tablespoons olive oil and red wine vinegar. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
If using fresh lima beans and/or peas, cook in small amount of boiling salted water 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. If using frozen lima beans and/or peas, cook according to package directions.
In large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add corn, sweet pepper, and red onion to skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in lima beans and peas; heat through. Stir in herb mixture and vinaigrette. Makes 4 servings.