Cornish Hen for Two with Cranberry-Thyme Sauce

A meal for lovebirds


Sometimes, preparing a little holiday feast for two is just the ticket – maybe your whole family is stranded in Chicago due to a freaky snowstorm (don’t laugh – the forecast looks iffy), or you and your lucky love bunny are simply planning a cozy Thanksgiving this year.

This recipe is fairly easy and delicious…enjoy.

Cornish Hen for Two with Cranberry -Thyme Sauce
adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2007

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound Cornish game hen, halved, backbone removed, rinsed, patted dry
1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Preheat oven to 450°F. Blend 2 tablespoons butter, sugar, and 2 teaspoons thyme in small bowl. Pat hen halves dry with a paper towel and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Spread skin of each with half of butter mixture. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add hen halves, skin side down. Sear until deep brown, about 4 minutes. Turn, skin side up, and sear 1 minute. Remove from heat. Transfer hen halves, skin side up, to a small rimmed baking sheet. Reserve skillet (pan juices will be dark).

Roast hen halves until cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Add broth, orange juice, cranberry concentrate, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to reserved skillet.
Boil until sauce is reduced to 3/4 cup, whisking often, about 7 minutes. Whisk in flour mixture and cranberries. Simmer until sauce coats a spoon, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer hen halves to plates. Spoon the sauce over and serve.

Save This Page on Del.icio.us

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Roasted Pork, Tuscan Style

Stick your fork in a juicy slice

You know how people say we talk about the weather when we can’t think of anything else to say? Well, today I want to talk about the weather because that’s all I’ve been thinking about.

I took myself on a walk this morning after dropping the kids at school – it’s such a glorious postcard-perfect day someone needs to take a picture of it (because, obviously, I didn’t).

The sky is pristinely blue, a chilly breeze is blowing leaves around, and the trees are still holding on to their brilliant array of fall foliage. It sounds so sappy, but the sight of it really took my breath away.

And then, I started thinking about what I wanted to eat.

So much of what I find myself craving depends on the weather; like a cool cucumber and ripe tomato salad on a humid summer day or fresh green things in early spring.

Now that it’s so close to Thanksgiving, I love grocery shopping more than ever. It really is the only time of year when I can walk into my favorite store and find an array of food I won’t see again until next year, unless I place a special order for it. The meat department especially draws me in – I’m tempted by fresh duck, goose and quail and big, beautiful pork roasts.

A roasted rack of pork is one of my favorite things to cook and eat. I rub it with olive oil, honey and some of my Tuscan Spiced Salt, and slide it into a hot oven. It turns out so much better than a boneless pork loin ever could – because the rib bones are intact, the meat stays juicy. Plus, it just tastes good.

Roasted Rack of Pork, Tuscan Style

for 4 servings

1 2-pound pork rib roast, trimmed
Honey
Olive Oil
Tuscan Spiced Salt, about 2 tablespoons

*note: I noticed I had “3″ tablespoons here – better to use about 1 tablespoon per pound*

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Rub the pork with a little honey and olive oil and the Tuscan salt.
Arrange in a shallow roasting pan and roast about 30 minutes, or until an instant thermometer reads 140 degrees. Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

 

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Perfect Roast Chicken

Crisp, golden, juicy roast chicken – it’s really good


We’re just back from our rear end-numbing road trip to Maine, and as good as it was to get outta town, arriving home feels like work. There’s more laundry and unpacking to do, along with grocery shopping and cleaning the kitchen, since no matter how much I try to clean out the fridge before a vacation, I’m always greeted on my return by some forgotten container of leftovers and yogurt with green hair growing out of it.

A simple meal like roast chicken is so easy and comforting when the cupboard is bare. All you need – besides the chicken of course – are basic seasonings, a hot oven or, if the weather is nice, an outdoor grill.

I don’t know why, but the thought of cooking a whole chicken (yes, with the bones!) can seem daunting to some cooks. For instance, my mother hardly ever served roasted chicken when I was growing up – instead, it was saved for special occasions at a restaurant.

And I know how convenient it’d be to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but I have a problem with those; by the time you get it home, the chicken has been stewing under a heat lamp for hours; dried out and overcooked.

I’ve been making a version of this chicken recipe for years now. Sometimes we roast it on the grill, which produces an even better chicken with crisp, golden skin and a delicious smoky aroma. The method is from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, a cookbook I consider an absolute necessity in the kitchen.

This is also a great way to make use of any leftovers the next day. Make a chicken taco with some shredded chicken, or pile chunks on some crusty bread and make a panini with basil, goat cheese and slow roasted tomatoes.

Perfect Roast Chicken

1 3 1/2 – 4 pound chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 small lemon
Optional seasonings, depending on what you have on hand:
A handful of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley
One or two garlic cloves

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the chicken in a shallow roasting pan or casserole and pat the skin dry with paper towels.

Mix together the salt and pepper in a small dish; season the chicken on all sides, rubbing over the skin into the cavity.

Poke about a dozen holes in the lemon with a fork or a skewer and place in the cavity. Tuck the herbs and/or garlic in with the lemon, if using, and tie the legs together with a 12-inch-long piece of kitchen twine.

Arrange the chicken breast side down and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and roast an additional 30 minutes.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the skin is golden and juices run clear from the thigh when pierced with a fork.

Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing or carving. Save the juices that run out and serve with the chicken.

To roast in an outdoor grill, prepare grill for indirect cooking and heat to medium-high. Place chicken breast down directly on the grill rack and cook as described above.

Save This Page on Del.icio.us

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food