Saturday, April 25, 2009

No Salt, No Pepper, No Problem

I love cooking Asian cuisine, but the ingredients can often be intimidating. I have made several Asian recipes over the last year and have become somewhat familiar with the basics, but there are still ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. This recipe called for lemon grass and I didn't have any previous experience with the herb. I wanted to make sure I had all of the required ingredients, so of course my husband had to make a special trip to a very hectic Asian grocery - H-mart. Even though Asian recipes usually require a trip to H-Mart and at least one Google search to clarify what I need, they are always worth the effort. I have found the Asian dishes I have prepared to contain several layers of flavor and to always seem to be perfectly balanced. This recipe was no exception. We couldn't get enough of it and it was a brilliant nontraditional way to prepare Cornish hens. It seems odd to think you could achieve a perfectly flavored chicken without salt and pepper, but this marinade leaves nothing to be desired.

Honey and Coconut Marinated Cornish Hens
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2002


4 servings (serving size: 1 hen half)

  • 2 (1 1/4-pound) Cornish hens
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Thai chile sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves

Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens with cold water; pat dry. Split hens in half lengthwise. Remove skin; trim excess fat.

Place cilantro, lemongrass (pictured below - remove the tough outer layers and discard, then cut into 1 inch pieces before placing in the blender),

coconut milk, 3 tablespoons honey, fish sauce, and remaining ingredients in a blender;

process until smooth. Pour mixture into a large gallon size zip-top plastic bag. Add hen halves; seal and marinate in refrigerator 12 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Remove hen halves from bag, reserving marinade. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Place hen halves, meaty sides up, on a broiler pan.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes, using a pastry brush for basting frequently with the reserved marinade. Pour remaining 1 tablespoon of honey over hens,

and bake hens an additional 20 minutes or until thermometer registers 180°.


teresa said...

YUM! I have never even come close to making something like this, it looks incredible! I love the pictures!

FresitaBonita said...

Looks delicious..!! Thanks for sharing..!!

Val said...

This recipe's a keeper too! Thank you for sharing it & your great photos! ;o}

Kerstin said...

It so good - what a great combo of flavors! I love wandering around our local Asian market - I got spring roll wrappers for the first time yesterday, so we'll see how that goes.... :)

Woody said...

This was the best Cornish Hen I have ever had.

Anonymous said...

B...I love cooking Asian. Might try this one tonight. Ricky (Tim)