I’ve always found people either LOVE Brussels sprouts, or they hate them almost to the point that a Brussels sprout may take it personally. I fall into the former category. Since I was little, Brussels sprouts have been one of my favorite veggies. Even so, I am a little particular about how they are prepared.
In this week’s recipe, they get pan fried and then oven roasted, which makes them tender on the inside with yummy crispy spots on the outside. The pan sauce created by the drippings from the hens coats the Brussels sprouts and gives them great flavor. The last minute addition of the vinegar makes the whole dish very rustic with a great depth to the flavor (considering how easy it is to prepare).
On that note, I have over a dozen different vinegars in my kitchen including 6-8 flavored balsamic vinegars. Some of my favorites are fig, pear-cinnamon, blackberry-ginger, blood orange, chocolate and maple. If you’re ready (thanks to the SlimGenics® STEP™ Program) to be a little adventurous with your vinegars, I would highly suggest you go out and do some sampling. The difference you can make in your sauces and salad dressings is unbelievable! When I made this dish, I used maple infused balsamic, but you can get a similar flavor with a combination of straight balsamic mixed with a touch of maple extract.
Remember, you should take the meat off of your hen and make sure that just four ounces make it onto your final plate.
I hope this dish becomes a favorite for feeding your whole family. If you’re preparing this for guests, consider some tahini-free Roasted Red Pepper Hummus as a delicious starter before dinner.
Cornish Game Hen Recipe and Ingredients
- 2 Cornish hens
- 1/2 teaspoon Morton® Lite Salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 4 teaspoons butter
- 1 teaspoon Splenda® brown sugar blend
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flake
- 3 cups Brussels sprouts, halved (or quartered if large)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup bulgur
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
Place hens on a cutting board breast side down. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut down either side of the backbone, removing and discarding it. Open the hen and, using a large sharp knife, cut down the center of the breastbone to completely halve each hen. Rinse well and pat dry with paper towels, then arrange skin side up on a shallow baking sheet and season with half of salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Barely melt butter in a microwave safe dish, cooking on high for about 20-30 seconds. Add brown sugar blend, thyme, garlic powder, and red pepper flake. Stir well to combine. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat skin side of hens with mixture.
Place a large oven-proof sauté pan over high heat. When pan is hot, coat with cooking spray and add hen halves, skin side down. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until skin has turned a deep brown color. Using tongs, turn chicken. Add Brussels sprouts to pan and toss well. Add chicken broth or stock, and use a wooden spoon to release any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer entire pan to hot oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until hens are cooked through.
While hens are roasting, bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Add bulgur, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit while hens are roasting, at least 10 minutes.
Remove pan with hens from oven. Use tongs to remove hens from mixture onto plates. To mixture left in pan, add balsamic and maple extract and toss to combine (you can also use maple-flavored balsamic vinegar). Drain bulgur and sprinkle over Brussels sprout mixture. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Serve Brussels sprouts with hens.
Makes 4 servings