Sour Dough, Mushroom and Sage Dressing, Cranberry Sauce with Cornish Game Hen and Grilled Asparagus

 

 

Although we think of dressing with poultry this time of year around the holidays it is a great way to use leftover bread throughout the year. It is savory, and has that wonderful herbed smell that brings folks into the kitchen or to the table. A Cornish game hen is a perfect size for two, easy to prepare and cook and pairs beautifully with the dressing. Add a green vegetable, in this case asparagus and all you need then is to add a glass of wine and, enjoy.

 

Equipment needed:

 

Knife and cutting board, charcoal or gas grill, flat grill, mixing bowl, drying rack, casserole dish,

 

Ingredients:

 

Dressing:

¼ loaf multi grain sour dough bread

 

¼ loaf sour dough bread

4 stalks of celery chopped to medium dice

1 sweet onion chopped to medium dice

½ cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

4 tbsp. olive oil

1/8 lb. unsalted butter

1 to 2 cups unsalted chicken stock

 1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Black pepper

1 tbsp. rubbed sage

1 tsp. rubbed sage

1 tbsp. all purpose Cajun seasoning

1 tbsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried thyme

 

Hen:

1 Cornish game hen, washed, giblets removed

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. all purpose Cajun seasoning

 

Asparagus

16 spears asparagus

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt

Black pepper

Cranberry Sauce:

Recipe link here:

Method:

Hen:

  1. Once the bird is washed and giblets removed place into a covered container with 2 tbsp. of salt and sugar, cover with water and let brine under refrigeration for at least 3 hours.

  2. Remove from the brine, rinse off, pat dry with paper towels, rub butter over all skin area of the bird, except the back, and then evenly coat the skin with the seasoning.

  3. We are going to slow roast the bird so place it on the top rack of the grill which was pre heated to 250 to 275 degrees, just off the hot spot and roast until golden brown and cooked through. This may take 1 to two hours depending on how your particular grill heats and conveys the heat over the bird. Internal temperature should be at least 170 to be done.

Dressing:

  1. If you have fresh bread you will need to dry or toast the bread until all the moisture is released. To do this, first cut the bread into ¾ inch pieces, lightly spray on  or mix in half the olive oil, toss well to coat, then add the tbsp. of sage, tbsp. of thyme and Cajun season and toss until most of the herbs adhere to the bread cubes.

  2. Place all on a baking pan and place in an oven pre heated to 250 degrees for about 1 hour or until the cubes are toasted through with a crouton like crunch.

  3. While the bread is toasting add the butter to a sauté pan with the celery, mushrooms and onions the tsp. of sage and thyme. Sauté over medium heat until celery and onions are translucent and begin to caramelize, then deglaze with a little of the chicken stock.

  4. Place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl and add the celery, mushroom and onions and mix together.

  5. Place the dressing mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish, spread evenly and press down. Add chicken stock until the bread is moist but not soggy.

  6. Place, covered, into the oven pre heated to 350 degrees and bake for about one half an hour, then remove the covering, reduce the heat to 250 and allow baking to continue until the top of the dressing browns.

     

    Asparagus:

  7. Sprinkle a little olive oil over the asparagus and sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. Place on a flat grill placed over the hot spot on the grill. Cook until asparagus in tender but not soft.

Makes hen and asparagus for two and dressing for four to six.

 

 

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