Chef Tony Maws’ One-Pot Recipe: Game Hens
Note: Small birds cooked on the bone produce great flavor, and browning game hens in duck or chicken fat makes them extra tasty. The dried fruits will add depth to the sauce.
2 Cornish game hens, 2 to 3 pounds each
4 cups mixed root vegetables such as carrots, onions, parsnips, celery root, rutabaga, turnips – diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup Armagnac
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup dark raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried pears, diced
A bunch of fresh herbs, incluing parsley, thyme, bay leaaf, and sage tied in a cheesecloth sachet
1 cup roasted chicken stock or chicken broth
2 tablespoons duck fat or vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Rinse hens under cold water and pat dry. Season liberally with salt and pepper inside and out and let rest at room temperature for 1/2 hour. Soak the dried fruit in warm water to cover for 1/2 hour.
In large Dutch oven or enamelledd pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the hens slowly on all sides, being careful not to burn the fat. Remove to a plate. In the same fat, add all the diced vegetables and garlic and slowly brown to caramelize. Strain off all the fat.
Add dried fruit and herb sachet, pour in Armagnac, and cook until liquid is completely evaporated. Add wine and reduce by half, then add the stock. Place the hens on top of the vegetables and fruit, bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover and place in the oven. Roast for approximately 1 hour, or until legs easily pull away from the rest of the bird. Let rest for 20 minutes and serve.