Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cornish Game Hen with Pomegranate Molasses - Fancy Schmancy!

For New Year's Eve, Craig and I prefer to stay at home.  I try to make something a bit on the fancy side, where we can safely drink a bottle of champagne or wine.  I'm not ashamed to admit that we're usually asleep by 10:00pm, after watching the East Coast pre-recorded Times Square stroke of midnight. Yeah, we're living "La Vida Loca".

I've been on vacation since December 23rd, which gave me a chance to watch some pre-recorded shows of Anne Burrell's Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.  I love her quirky blonde hair, and her zany way of teaching.   In one episode, Anne made Cornish Game Hens with Pomegranate Molasses.  I taught myself how to make Pomegranate Molasses, last year (and it's super easy, by the way).

I've never made Cornish Game Hens, and I'm not sure why.  I saw them at Whole Foods, and that made choosing my New Year's Eve menu pretty simple.

I asked the butcher to remove the spine so that the hens would be butterflied. I'm not gonna lie-- this kinda creeped me out.

I felt a little bit better, once I tied the legs together.  I hate to burst anyone else's bubble, but I didn't stop to think about what a Cornish Game Hen really is, until now.  It's a chicken, that's no more than five weeks old.  Here I thought it was some fancy miniature poultry.  Oh well, these were ready to be pan seared and roasted.

First, I poured some of my homemade molasses into a pan, with some smashed garlic, on medium heat.

In a screaming hot pan, with olive oil, I seared the seasoned chicken (salt & pepper), skin side down,  for a good 6-7 minutes. (Of course the skin needs to be patted dry, and free of any kind of moisture.)

I cooked the other side for about 3 minutes, and then placed them on a baking tray.  I brushed the pomegranate molasses onto each bird, and returned them back to the pan into the oven, at 350F, for about 20 minutes.

I was sorely tempted to make Anne's Israeli Couscous with dried apricots and pomegranate arils.   However, my husband isn't crazy about couscous, but he loves Brussels Sprouts.  I remembered a recipe I had made, last year, for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Molasses and Vanilla Pecan Butter. I wanted to tie in the Pomegranates, so this seemed the perfect choice. I decided not to make the Vanilla Pecan Butter, though. Instead, I added the zest of lime, lemon and orange-- and it smelled so bright and lovely.

Once the Brussels Sprouts were roasted, I drizzled them with the remaining pomegranate molasses and added some pomegranate arils that I easily de-seeded...

... using my underwater method (sure alleviates a juicy mess).

Happy New Year, for the Love of my Life.  I presented to him the Cornish Game Hen and his favorite vegetable.

VERDICT:  The dinner looked fancy, with a candle lit table and soft music.  I have no idea why, but seeing that little bird on my plate was unsettling. I could envision it with the feathers, and I felt like I was killing someone's baby.  This is a very strange feeling, considering I am a carnivore-- and occasional "flexitarian".  I couldn't eat the little legs!  Flavor-wise, the bird was moist and flavorful. Craig ate the whole bird, without any problem.  The Brussels Sprouts turned out to be my favorite part of the meal.  I'm the one who's a bit underwhelmed by this veggie, but the citrus zest and molasses was perfect.  I loved the crunch of the tart pomegranate arils.   As far as the work involved, it was no more difficult than a typical work night dinner.

Would I make a Cornish Game Hen again?  Probably not.  But, they do make a fancy presentation, but they're a bit pricey. I'm posting Anne's recipe at the end of this post, and the recipe for the Brussels Sprouts.

 Six years of marriage, and I still feel like we're on our honeymoon.

My husband will probably feel embarrassed, but I wanted to share a couple of photos from today.(Sorry, Sweetie, but I love this photo of you.)

 The Famous Lone Cypress Tree, Pebble Beach

It's our sixth wedding anniversary, and we spent the afternoon having lunch at Spanish Bay, in Pebble Beach (California).  It was a warm and gorgeous day, so I couldn't resist taking a few photos of one of the most famous places on the planet.

If you've never visited here, I hope you do.  If you have, then you know how blessed I feel to call this home.
Craig caught me tweeting photos on Instagram. (I cut my hair even shorter!)

Tomorrow, we are headed to San Francisco, for a few days of sightseeing and good eats!

Happy New Year!


Cornish Game Hens with Pomegranate Molasses

        <p>This recipe comes from Anne Burrell&#8217;s &#8220;Secrets of a Restaurant Chef&#8221;.  Cornish Game hens are really just adolescent chickens, but they do make a fancy presentation as they are small enough to fit one one dinner plate.  I served ...    

        See Cornish Game Hens with Pomegranate Molasses on Key Ingredient.    



Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranates and Vanilla-Pecan Butter (Bobby Flay)

        <p>If you aren&#8217;t crazy about Brussels sprouts, please consider this recipe.  You do need Pomegranate molasses, which you can search for at a grocery store. Otherwise, I&#8217;ll show you how to make it yourself on m food blog at ...    

        See Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranates and Vanilla-Pecan Butter (Bobby Flay) on Key Ingredient.    



Pomegranate Molasses (Alton Brown)

        <p>Making pomegranate molasses is very easy to do. It&#8217;s a rich ruby color and has so many possibilities.  I&#8217;ll be posting a recipe that I made by drizzling the molasses over roasted Brussel sprouts&#8212; along with a few other ingredients.  ...    

        See Pomegranate Molasses (Alton Brown) on Key Ingredient.    


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Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary and best wishes for the new year! I'd love to be where your at. How wonderful. I've never made a Cornish Game Hen before. Sounds like you had a wonderful dinner. Pat

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Happy anniversary to you both. I saw your recipe and that handsome man on FB and dropped by to read more. Your dinner plans for NY's eve sound perfect. I had the same feeling you did when we were in France and I ordered a very small bird for lunch. Guess it must be a gal thing.

Happy new year to you both and I hope 2012 brings you much happiness and good health on your seventh year.

bellini said...

Happy anniversary, enjoy San Francisco and all that wonderful town has to offer. It also looks like you have started 2012 off the way it should be with good food and some relaxation.

Noelle Marie said...

Happy Anniversary! Have so much fun in SF! Thanks for the photos... enticing me each time. I love your fancy schmancy posts.

Chris and Amy said...

We make game hens quite often and never thought to use pomegranate molasses (which we have in our cabinet!). Thanks for the idea! Happy New Year and Anniversary! Enjoy your trip to SF.

Joanne said...

Aww happy anniversary, chica! I wish you an infinite number of more years of happiness and love!

Pomegranate molasses sounds like the perfect marinade for that bird!

Kathryn said...

Gorgeous looking recipe, perfectly executed. We're the stay-at-home sort for NYE too, and think that's the best way, so I can imagine cooking up something like this would suit beautifully. Best of all is your comment about savoring the sense of 'newlywed' long past its supposed expiration date. I feel so lucky that we feel that way as well, 15 years in and counting. Can't imagine anything lovelier. Happy anniversary!

Cindy said...

You did good!

I was hoping to make a variation of Anne's recipe last week. My molasses (Alton's recipe) quickly went from syrup to taffy and then the trash. Ended up roasting the little bird with herbs instead. They are a bit over-rated, aren't they?

Kim said...

Happy anniversary to you and Craig! You certainly went all out and made a gorgeous dinner, Debby. The game hens look perfectly glazed and all yummy and sticky. Saying that, I think the brussels would probably be favorite too. I can't get enough of them.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love love love game hens and I often use this method to cook them (butterfly, brown, glaze, and bake). I agree that they price can get away from you though. I usually only have them for special occasions or if I can get a good deal on them.

Happy anniversary and your hubs is quite the hottie!

Judy said...

I love Anne Burrell and watch her all the time. I was rooting for her on Next Iron Chef and was sad when she was ousted. This looks like a great recipe, I've seen her make it.

Kate said...

I enjoy Anne Burrell also. I do try to catch the show once in awhile...usually while ironing! :-)
Your game hens look splendid! I must give them a try.....but...I will have to block out the memory of what they really are.....

Christine said...

Debby, Happy Anniversary!! So happy for you both! Wishing you many, many more wonderful, loving years together! Your PB/SF getaway sounds so relaxing.
I'll be making the pomegranate molasses soon, looks so good. Might try the recipe on a regular chicken since there's one in my freezer.

Norma Chang said...

Gorgeous scenery, hopefully I will have the opportunity to visit some time. Your New Year Eve's dinner was perfect. Happy anniversary and Happy New Year.

Bunny said...

Happy Anniversary to you. My husband and I have been married six months. There's something absolutely wonderful about finding the love of your life at 56. I wish you many years of married bliss.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Your dinner is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l, Debby, truly anniversary worthy. I don't prepare game hens very often because eating them involves fussing with the bones. I'm off now to check out the recipe for the pomegranate molasses. It sounds yummy.

Chelsey Ann said...

I love peeking in on your blog from time to time! An easy way to de-seed pomagranates, that I learned from my grandfather, is to cut the pom in half turn it upside down in your palm and beat the bottom of it with a large spoon. The seeds just fall out! Make sure that you do it over a bowl! Try it, you'll be amazed!

myla said...

I'm new to the blogging world and love it I've never left a comment either but I enjoy your recipes and your posts! Amazing food for sure!