Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stubborn Shrooms

My brother's wife Allison had a long row to hoe when she married into our family. We are quite a set of personalities. My brother is probably one of the most laid back people on the face of the planet. I can only surmise that after a few months of dating my brother she probably thought he might have come from a family made up of similar characters. Well that isn't the case by any stretch of the imagination. Allison would be our first female in-law and therefore she would be forced to suffer the unofficial initiation from my sister and myself. We are not anything like my brother. We are very opinionated, outspoken and officious - but we mean well ;-)

Allison started to realize she might be in for some excitement on the occasion of our first meeting. Some friends and I traveled to Alabama where Allison and Trey both lived at the time to meet my big brother's new girlfriend. The first night we were together we decided to grill for dinner and get to know each other. I went to the supermarket before the cook out and stocked up on all the essentials. Of course I purchased some hearty portobellos for the grill as the perfect accompaniment to the menu. As all of the food started to come off of the grill I inquired why Allison didn't help herself to any of the famous fungi. She intently stated that she despised mushrooms. I then went on to explain how portobellos aren't like mushrooms at all and that they really taste like steak. Still, she politely declined. I reached across and lovingly placed one on her plate. I was determined to introduce her to one of my favorite foods. I encouraged her to "take just one bite", I was sure she would love them. Once again she assured me that she had a strong aversion to mushrooms and had no plans to try the delicacy that she was convinced would "taste like dirt." This is the part that is a little unclear, but Allison swears that upon my hearing her sinful description of my beloved shrooms that I actually put a mushroom on a fork and handed it to her for consumption. In the end, she (like predicted) hated it. But she did learn a valuable lesson that night. Trey's sisters were very determined and she would have years of defending her opinion ahead of her.

Next up - The Red Shirt Christmas.......

Mushroom-Stuffed Cornish Hens
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
  • 2 Cornish hens, about 1 1/4 pounds each
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 strips bacon, blanched
  • 5 sprigs thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and white pepper, reduce the heat to medium,

and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms begin to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring to deglaze the pan, until all the liquid has evaporated.

Remove from the heat and let cool before using. After the mixture is cooled, add the Parmesan cheese and the leaves from one sprig of thyme and mix.

With your fingers, gently lift and loosen the skin from the hens' breasts to make a pocket. Spread half of the mushroom mixture over each breast using a spoon

and pull the skin back into place. Pat the hen skin dry with a a paper towel to remove any moisture and to allow the skin to brown. Ties legs together if desired. Season the hens, inside and out, with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper.

Wrap each hen with 2 strips of bacon, crossing over the breast to cover.

Place the hens breast side up in a roasting pan and roast until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.


Kimberly said...

I adore Cornish hens. These look great!

Molly Jean said...

Ahh yes. Our poor big brothers! The things that they (and their girlfriends/wives) have to go through. But hey, that's what lil' sisters are for :)

I've never made a cornish hen before but I've been dying to try. And I'm a 'shroom freak so this might be just the ticket!

MaryBeth said...

I also hate with a passion Mushrooms, my husband on the other hand loves them. He would be all over this little bird.

Me and My Pink Mixer said...

I haven't made cornish hens forever. This looks like a great recipe!

Anonymous said...

Just leave red shirt christmas alone .... please :) I think she is still mad at me about that ;)

Hens look good!

Your Sister,


Mushroom hater said...

Oh no... not the red shirt Christmas!!! I'd rather eat mushrooms than relive that day!! As "opinionated, outspoken and officious" as the two of you might be, I love both of you and truly appreciate everything you do for me!
For the record: mushrooms DO taste like dirt and I still DO NOT eat them!!
Thanks for the laugh!

Krista said...

What a funny story. You sound a little like my sisters and I. Pity the men that have married in...I think these days they just sit back and watch the show. Lol.

This recipe sounds wonderful!

Mom2Be said...

how could anyone not like mushrooms? : ) My older sister hates them and I will never understand it! This recipe looks great! : )

Joelen said...

I've been eyeing the cornish hens on sale at the store. I just might have to try this recipe soon!

teresa said...

great story, i'm a huge mushroom lover myself!

i have been wanting to try cornish game hens for a while, but have never known what to do with them, i'm definitely going to try this!