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.......
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.