Jan 2, 2013 7:12 PM

Let's make a meal: Roasted cornish hens with roasted lemon sauce

2013 is already shaping up to be one of the most delicious in modern times. We know what we like and what we do not. We know the fresh, seasonal, local sustainable mantra by heart. We have synthesized the best bits from Mexico, Korea, France and Spain. There are more incredible artisan products and blue chip brands offering more fantastic inspiration and ingredients than ever. We layer it on top of ( or next to or inside of or marinated in) what we already love.
So then what do we do? Now we mash it all together, powered by our knowledge and hunger, and tempered with our newly collected kitchen wisdom. The result? Delicious.

This is the rough synopsis of the best food experts predictions for the Edible Year ahead 2013. There will be better food writing and reading, conviviality and spice in 2013. Tea is the new coffee and chicken is the new steak according to the gurus. I love the start of a new year food predictions that carbonate our food talk each January.
I have my own crystal ball and agree with some of these predictions. But where to start?

The old conundrum asks which came first the chicken or the egg? Well, in 2013 it is the chicken. Not only is it being re-claimed by great chefs and home cooks alike as something other than a food we take for granted, or order when nothing else strikes our fancy in a restaurant. Today chicken is being perfected and in many cases simplified. Expect to see the sort of brilliant expressions of classic roast chicken, that we have here in Tucson at places like Acacia and at Maynards Market & Kitchen downtown.

In fact we were inspired by the Organic Game Hen served by award winning Chef Adam Buzzalini, as the perfect way to start the new year. Game Hens are available and a relative bargain. They are flavorful and easy to prepare. I love this dish because it uses the lemons so many of us have on our trees right now.

Herb & Lemon Cornish Game Hen with Roasted Lemon
1/4 cup butter, melted
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 teaspoons dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon paprika
• 2 Cornish game hens (20 to 24 ounces each)
• In an bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Place hens on a rack
• in a shallow baking pan. Tuck wings under hen. Spoon half of butter
• sauce over hens. Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 40-45 minutes or
• until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 180°,
• basting occasionally with remaining sauce. Serve this dish with Roasted Lemon Sauce inspired by a recipe from Michael Chiarello. I give it my own twist.
Roasted Lemons from Michael Chiarello. I have been making this for years and think it might be the most delicious recipe of Chef Chiarello.

6 Large lemons
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 2 cups double-strength chicken stock, or 4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth boiled until reduced by half
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
• Rosemary sprigs, for garnish


• Preheat the broiler.
Cut a small slice off both ends of each lemon, and then cut in half crosswise. Arrange the lemons, flesh side up, in a flameproof nonreactive baking dish, brush with olive oil and and season with salt. Broil 6 inches or more from the heat until browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Squeeze the lemon halves over a sieve suspended over a bowl. Push and stir the pulp through the sieve with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to get as much juice out as possible. Discard the lemon peels.
• In a medium saucepan warm 2 cups chicken broth. Over medium heat add the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat and add fresh parsley & other herbs. Taste. If too lemony, add 1 tablespoon of butter. Incorporate fully. Serve with Rasted game hens.


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