When I was a kid, I loved it when my parents would bring little game hens home from the supermarket and roast one for each of us. I also remember a wonderful Christmastime “Madrigal Dinner” hosted by the chamber music group of my local community college in Orlanto, Valencia, that I shared with my mother and her mother in which game birds were served. The tiny roasted beauties were plated whole, stuffed with apple walnut dressing.
These little game hens are small enough to satisfy a large appetite, but one makes a plentiful dinner for two. I roasted them using this simple method and served them with Mushroom Risotto with Spring Onions & Fresh Parsley for a delicious Valentine’s Day supper.
Rosemary– 2 tsp. dried per bird or 1 tsp. fresh
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place a baking rack inside a broiler pan or roasting pan.
With a very sharp knife, pierce each bird in the center of the breast as close to the center ridge of bone and cartilage as you can. Cut directly through, vertically, and pull bird apart to open, breaking rib bones to lay flat. Tuck wing tips under. Dry surface thoroughly and spread butter over entire bird. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with rosemary. Lay on the rack in the pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Ladle stock onto birds, as they don’t release enough of their own liquids for basting. Every 10 minutes for the next 30, baste with pan drippings. Serve one whole bird per person or split down the back bone to divide into halves for smaller portions.
Yield: 2 to 4 servings