I really wanted to make a big Sunday dinner for John last week. When I got to the store, the bigger birds were pricey and cornish game hens were on sale. Interesting fact, cornish game hens are an American invention and have only been around since the 60’s. I decided to improvise and use the same recipe I would with duck, on the two smaller birds. It worked out beautifully!
I love how sweet John always is about my cooking, even when it takes forever or I am a pain and want to quickly snap some pictures before we eat. He is a great food critic and I love having him around to play house with:]
For the pears: I soaked one peeled Bosc and one peeled Bartlett pear in a medium bowl, in my fridge, in a wine mixture, overnight. The pear type does not significantly alter the taste of the game hens, but the two different types of pears make the wine gravy (which mainly consists of the leftover wine mixture) wonderful. The wine mixture consisted of one bottle of Port, a sprinkle of ginger, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a cap (or tiny little splash) of vanilla.
For the hens: I tied their legs back, gave them each a pear, drizzled olive oil on them, sprinkled each with garlic salt and pepper, then shoved a bunch of thyme under their legs. I put them in the oven at 325° for a little over an hour and a half. The hens were uncovered which made it easy for me to collect drippings for the gravy. I only opened the oven once while the hens were cooking.
For the wine gravy: I poured all the remaning wine (that the pears had soaked in) into a sauce pan around the time the hens went into the oven. I added all the giblets (hearts, livers, and necks), garlic salt, a few leftover bits of thyme, a cut up carrot, and eventually drippings to the gravy. The gravy cooked on medium high heat for 20 minutes, then medium until the gravy was of a thick consistency. I then kept it on low, until the hens were ready.
Sadly, John does not like hearts and livers, because they would have been divine on a bed of greens. The salad would not even need dressing because the wine gravy tasted similar to a high end balsamic reduction. I fished the hearts and livers out and had them as an appetizer all on my own. They were sinfully good!
The final product was as beautiful as it was delicious. Sadly, because I filled up on my appetizer, I only had room for a small plate. John was more than willing to pick up the slack!