I have reached that time in my life where bits of my body are beginning to give out. However, there is still a child within. From time to time, I like to pretend that I am eating entire cabbages in one bite. In reality, I am eating brussels sprouts. The same is true of Cornish game hen. Imagine being a giant, or Henry VIII, and eating an entire chicken to yourself. Such are the dreams of little boys.
As much as I love Cornish Game Hen – they are a little stronger in flavor (gamier) than chicken – I am always worried about cooking them. My go-to method until recently was to stuff the cavity to even out the cooking. However, more often than not, the meat – especially the breast – dried out before the core came up to temperature.
The trick to juicy game hen is to split the bird and then baste it. At a medium heat (350 degrees) they will take about 45 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.
They should be basted as they cook with a blend of butter, molasses and hoisin sauce in a 1:1:1 ratio.
Place the birds meat side down on a foil-lined tray. Passive-aggressive cooks at war with their partner may omit the foil! Place in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.
Please forgive the brief digression, but I was given a magnificent gift at Christmas. I have gone through more than my share of pastry brushes (and left all too many hairs in the food), that were not built for the rigors of basting. The above basting brush has silicon “bristles” and is purpose-made for the job. Not only is it robust enough to handle both the heat and goo of heavy basting sauces, but it is a breeze to clean. Sauce just slips off the brush with a little soapy water. Magic!
After the first ten minutes, turn the birds over and baste.
Baste every ten minutes or so and continue to cook.
Allow to rest for five to ten minutes and serve.