Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Cornish Hens with Raspberry Balsamic Glaze

     If you are searching for something special to serve your family and friends, look no further.  This recipe for Bacon Wrapped Cornish Hens with Raspberry Balsamic Glaze from has few ingredients but with a little preparation you can dazzle your guests with your culinary skills and an elegant gourmet meal.  When making the glaze be sure to use a heavy bottomed sauce pan or even a small dutch oven.  I made the mistake of reducing the sauce over too much heat, not only did the smoke alarms go off but I ended up with a gloppy blob of solid sugar that was almost impossible to remove from anything it touched.  After boiling three batches of water in the pan to remove the residue I tried again, this time simmering the mixture over medium low heat and stirred frequently until a thick, deep claret colored glaze appeared.  Let it sit to cool while you cook your bacon.  To play it on the safe side and to avoid another messy clean up I lined my dutch oven with aluminum foil.   I used a rack in my 12 inch deep oven but you could just as easily roast these in your shallow oven without one.  These were ready in 45 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered.  As you can see from the photo, the bacon did overcook but the hens were brown, crispy and beautifully glazed.  Also, I did not wrap the hens with the bacon but crisscrossed a slice over each one.  Smokey flavored, juicy and loaded with flavor, try this recipe with chicken breasts or even use the glaze alone with whole game hens, this is easy, elegant dutch oven cooking.

Bacon Wrapped Cornish Hens with Raspberry Balsamic Glaze
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 bacon slices
4 Cornish Game Hens

     Simmer jam and vinegar in a small saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until glaze is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10-15 minutes.  Cool to room temperature (glaze will thicken slightly as it cools).
     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven, for easier clean up, line with aluminum foil.
     Cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until some of fat is rendered but bacon is still translucent and pliable, 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.
     Cut out and discard backbone from each hen with kitchen shears, then halve each hen lengthwise.  Pat hens dry and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange hens bottom side up in dutch oven.  Brush liberally with glaze.  Turn over, completely coat hens with remaining glaze.  Wrap 2 slices of bacon around each half hen, tucking ends under. 
     Bake at 400 degrees in dutch oven for 45-50 minutes or hens are well cooked and juices run clear when a thigh is pierced.  Serves 4.

A thick, ruby red reduction of vinegar and jam forms the glaze

Hens glazed and topped with bacon

After 45 minutes on a rack in a hot oven

Smokey, juicy, raspberry flavored hen

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