Thursday, September 4, 2008

Close Call

Forrest and I both love Cornish Game Hens. I think our love affair with this diminutive poultry started at Gulf Stream - a restaurant we frequently dined in while living in New Orleans. It is no surprise that yet another one of our tendencies were formed back home. Both Forrest and I are deeply rooted in New Orleans. We love the culture, the cuisine, the music, the history, the nightlife, the sports, and most importantly the people. The people in New Orleans are extremely friendly, consistently fun and always hospitable. And included in those New Orleans "people" are both of our families.

So naturally when the weekend news started to focus on a brewing hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico my husband and I became extremely concerned. We both lived and lost in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina so the threat of another devastating storm was frighteningly vivid in our minds. We couldn't bare to think of our families enduring another disaster like we all did back in 2005. So we watched and waited - which is all you can do when you are 1000 miles away. Forrest mentioned that he felt helpless not being home to help his Mom, Dad and brother prepare the house for the storm. I felt a loss not being with my family as they caravaned out of the city into safety. It may seem that on my couch was a much better position than in a car for 2 hours with two babies and three adults for a 6 hour trip that dragged into 12 hours due to contraflow, but it wasn't. I would have given anything to be in that car to share the laughs, the worries and the fears. We spent all weekend in DC feeling helpless and afraid.

Now that the storm has passed and our families are returning to their homes (some to homes with power others without), we are grateful that the Hurricane did not cause nearly as much damage as was predicted. In comparison to Hurricane Katrina this storm was an inconvenience. But I know our families will take this week long inconvenience any day over what we all suffered a few years back. We are thankful, grateful and relieved that all of our loved ones are safe and their homes are relatively unscathed.

Game Hens with Pesto Rub and Roasted Potatoes
Cooking Light October 2002


4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 (22-ounce) Cornish hens
Cooking spray
7 cups small red potatoes, quartered (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Fresh basil sprigs (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor;

process until smooth.

Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens with cold water; pat dry. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub pesto under loosened skin.

Gently press skin to secure. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under hens.

Place hens on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert a meat thermometer into meaty part of a thigh, making sure not to touch bone.

Combine potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, tossing well to coat. Arrange potatoes around hens;

bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until thermometer registers 180° and potatoes are tender.

Remove hens and potatoes from pan, and cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin. Cut hens in half, and cover loosely with foil.

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (the fat will rise to the top). Seal bag, and carefully snip off 1 bottom corner. Drain drippings into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

Place the pan over medium-high heat. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch, stirring well with a whisk. Add to pan.

Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce with hens and potatoes. Garnish with basil sprigs, if desired.


8 servings (serving size: 1/2 hen, 3/4 cup potatoes, and 1 tablespoon sauce)


Cate said...

I'm so glad the storm wasn't bad! These look great - I've always wanted to try Cornish hens.

Cheryl said...

I am so glad that it was not another Katrina, and my MIL loves cornish game hens, I will have to make this for her!

Gabriela said...

Believe me when I say you were in my thoughts all weekend and especially on Labor Day as I knew you'd be worried sick. I couldn't be happier to learn that your families came through safely.

Stephanie said...

So glad your family is okay! These cornish game hens look amazing! I just tried them myself this summer and they are super yummy.

Anonymous said...

I love this post! And believe me we said multiple times on our "hurrication" that we wish Bizzy was with us. I just don't know where we would have fit someone else in the car!

The hens look great! This is what I will pick for you to cook for me next time I visit.

Your sister,