Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen

Anniversary Dinner

Three recipes for today!

1. Blue Cheese Fondue with Pears
2. Stuffed Mushrooms
3. Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen with Blue Cheese Dressing

It was our anniversary on Monday and per our tradition a fantastic from-scratch meal was made. Yes, most people question the idea of working for your meal on special occasions like anniversaries, but Husband and I have always enjoyed cooking together. We haven’t had a chance in a very long time as our schedules are never in sync so this was a special treat for us.

I only took a few pictures, and not many of the finished product – everything was too tasty and we devoured it before pictures could be even thought of. But everything turned out REALLY good.

First, appetizers. I didn’t know Husband was planning to surprise me with my all-time favorite food: stuffed mushrooms (especially Husband’s version) so I planned to make an appetizer as well. I made a cheese fondue from a particularly… uh… higher-class-than-me cook book that I have never used. It’s a British cookbook so the measurements were all in milliliters and grams and I had to look up substitutions and term definitions for some of them, but all in all it turned out alright.

Blue Cheese Fondue with Pears
This makes a TON, so you better have a lot of friends coming over

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 8 oz. shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. Gorgonzola cheese (original recipe calls for Roquefort cheese, a french blue cheese, but it was $7 for 3.5 ounces! No thank you.)
  • 1/2 C dry white wine (we used Little Black Dress’ Pino Grigio)
  • 4 Tbsp half-and-half
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 6 pears, quartered and sliced (I tried a variety; Bartlet, Red Anjou, and Bosc. The Red Anjou were my favorite; sweet like the Bartlet but with a nice flavor as well. The Bosc were perhaps not ripe enough; they were not sweet at all and were crisp like apples)

Directions

  1. Rub the cut side of the garlic clove on the sides and bottom of the fondue pot
  2. Pour in the white wine and heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat
  3. Gradually add the cheeses until melted and blended
  4. Whisk together the corn starch and half-and-half. Add to the cheese mixture.
  5. Add the nutmeg and pepper.
  6. Keep warm and serve with sliced pears.

Husband’s Stuffed Mushrooms

I don’t know what the proportions of this delectable dish are, nor do I think that I know all of the ingredients. They are locked away in Husband’s head, but this will get you started to a delicious stuffed mushroom.

Ingredients

  • Cream cheese
  • Blue cheese
  • Bacon or cured ham
  • Large stuffing mushroom caps
  • Butter, melted
  • Bread crumbs
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Fry the bacon and crumble to small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Wash the mushroom caps and line them up in a baking dish, “cup” side up
  3. Cream together the cream cheese and blue cheese. Spoon into mushroom caps. Top with bacon pieces.
  4. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter until well mixed. Sprinkle over the mushroom caps.
  5. Bake in the oven at ___°F until the bread crumb topping is golden brown and the cheese mixture is heated through and melty.
Stuffing the Mushrooms
Stuffing the Mushrooms

Once the appetizers were devoured we started eating the main course: Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen. Yes, Husband chose that recipe mainly because it has a funny name, but it was really delicious! Spatchcocking is a method of preparing the hen whereby you cut out the spine, spread the bird out and place it with the inside facing down, then flatten the bird out and chop it in half between the breast plate. See a video of it at BBC.com. The recipe is adapted from one in my Nigella Kitchen cookbook.

Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen and Universally Useful Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 Cornish hen
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp Fresh chives, or to taste, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried Sage, or to taste
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 6 ounces (about 6 cups) watercress, spinach, and arugula salad or other feisty leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil or good extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon steak sauce
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, good white wine vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and leave the bread slices out on a wire rack to dry a little.
  2. Spatchcocking the Hen
    Spatchcocking the Hen

    To spatchcock the Cornish hen, get some strong, sharp scissors (or poultry shears) and cut down either side of the spine, take out the spine, then press down on the breast to open it out flat. Cut the Cornish hen in half. Put it into a small roasting pan.

  3. Drizzle the hen with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, thyme, chives, black pepper and sage, and throw in the garlic cloves. Roast until the hen is reddish-gold on top, and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Poultry should be cooked to 162°F at the thickest part.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the blue cheese, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, buttermilk, whole milk and vinegar in a bowl and mix gently until well combined. Thin if necessary with a little iced water. Put it in a covered container and set aside in the refrigerator.
  5. Cut the dried sourdough bread slices into croutons. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan and fry the croutons until golden and crisp. Set aside.
  6. When the hen is done cooking, remove from the oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the spine and oregano sprigs. Arrange the salad leaves on a couple of plates.
  7. Set each half of Cornish hen on top of the salad on the plates (include some of the garlic cloves if you wish). Take the blue cheese dressing from the refrigerator and pour it over the hen and the salad. Sprinkle with croutons.
Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen
Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen
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