This lovely entree not only looks special, it tastes special, too. Your holiday guests are sure to be impressed.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 Cornish game hens (20 to 24 ounces each), split lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- MUSHROOM SAUCE:
- 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon each cornstarch and water
- 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
- Rub oil over hens; sprinkle with salt, thyme and pepper. Place skin side up on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 35-40 minutes or until thermometer reads 180°. Broil hens for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, toss mushrooms with 2 teaspoons oil, salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer on a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, turning once. Set aside.
- For sauce, in a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in remaining oil. Add the broth, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, bay leaf and remaining pepper; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until mixture is reduced to 1 cup. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into sauce. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in tarragon and mushrooms; heat through. Discard bay leaf. Serve sauce over hens. Yield: 4 servings.
Originally published as Elegant Cornish Hens in Light & Tasty December/January 2004, p20
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