Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chili-Roasted Game Hens with Jalapeño-Orange Sauce

     This recipe for Chili-Roasted Game Hens with Jalapeno-Orange Sauce from Epicurious may sound complicated but it only has a few ingredients and delivers in a big way.  The hardest part is splitting the hens and stuffing the cilantro sprigs under the skin but other than that the recipe is a snap and you only have to glaze them a couple of times while they're cooking.  I baked them in my 12 inch dutch oven with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and the lid completely covered with coals.  I glazed the hens after 15 minutes, then at 30 minutes and left them to cook for 30 minutes more, a total time of one hour.  They were juicy, golden brown and scented with orange and cilantro.  In my book this is a five star recipe, both impressive and easy to make at the same time.  I don't see why you couldn't cook these on your grill too, a great company dish, I know I'll be making this often, both inside and out.

Chili-Roasted Game Hens with Jalapeno-Orange Sauce
2 Cornish game hens, halved lengthwise
8 cilantro sprigs plus 2 Tblsp chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 tsp chili powder (preferably chipotle)
1/2 cup hot red jalapeno OR red pepper jelly
2 Tblsp orange juice
2 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 cup bottled red salsa

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Slide fingertips under game hen skin to loosen from meat.
     Insert cilantro sprigs under skin.
     Place hens skin side up in prepared dutch oven.
     Sprinkle hens with chili powder; season with salt.
     Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
     Meanwhile, stir jelly, orange juice and orange peel in small saucepan over medium heat until jelly melts, about 2 minutes.
     Pour half of glaze in a small bowl leaving remainder of sauce in saucepan to use later.
     After the first 15 minutes of roasting, brush hens with glaze in bowl.
     Glaze hens again after another 15 minutes of cooking time.
     Let hens continue cooking for a total time of 55-60 minutes or until brown and cooked through.
     Bring remaining jelly reserved in pan to a simmer.
     Stir in chopped cilantro and salsa.
     Spoon sauce over hens and serve.

Place cilantro sprigs under the skin of the hens then
sprinkle with salt and chili powder

Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then brush with glaze,
glaze again 15 minutes later

After 1 hour hens are glistening and golden brown

Sweet and spicy, one of my favorite dutch oven recipes

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