Sage Cornish Game Hen and Stock

After my Halloween post, I was asked for my cornish game hen recipe. So heeeere you go!

I always try to make stock with any birds I roast, since I don’t like to waste food. It saves money and makes me feel like I’m making the most of the animal I’ve chosen to eat. This goes double for holiday birds which are larger, hunting game, or Farmer’s market or organic birds which are more expensive. So I’ve included the stock recipe, too.

SAGE GAME HEN
Makes one
, which is great for a shared meal with a side dish.

One 1 3/4 pound cornish game hen, thawed and skin on (with giblets removed and reserved if they came with)
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp chopped fresh sage, plus 4-5 whole springs and 1/4 tsp for garnish
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper plus 1/4 for garnish
1 clove minced garlic
1  clove garlic cut into large pieces
4 tbsp butter or Earth Balance Soy margarine, softened (you can also use ghee or clarified butter if you like)
One lemon, sliced into wheels
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
3 lengths of celery hearts or 3 long carrots (for bottom of pan)

Preheat oven to 400.
In small bowl, mix together minced garlic, salt, pepper, butter, and chopped sage until thoroughly incorporated.
Briefly rinse and pat down bird with paper towels. If you want to be all fancy about it, bind the legs with kitchen twine.
This helps the bird cook evenly.

The next part is really gross but it makes the bird taste great. With hands, rub bird all over with butter and sage mixture until coated.
On the thighs and breast, lift the skin and stuff the space between the skin and meat with the mixture as well.
Fill cavity with sage sprigs, rough cut garlic, and 2-3 lemon wheels.

Place celery and /or carrots in the bottom of the baking dish.
Place bird breast side up on top of celery and carrots, and pour in broth.
Place most of the lemon wheels all over chicken skin, and finish bird with a final dusting of black pepper and sprinkling of chopped sage.

Roast uncovered at 400 for 30-45 minutes, until meat thermometer at thigh registers 165 and skin is browned.
You can also prick the thigh and note when the juices run clear, but a thermometer is best.
If it’s a bit smaller of a bird, it will only take about 25 minutes, and larger birds may take longer, but I start checking at around 25 minutes.

Note: If this is a bird which includes packet of giblets or neck, remove them from packet and roast them in a small pan separately as you roast the bird (for about 20 minutes). You can add them to the stock:

SAGE GAME HEN STOCK:

The celery and carrots you used for the pan
The hen carcass
The roasted giblets if you have them
1-2 sprigs sage leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp pepper

Dump in a large pot with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Strain broth through cheese cloth or fine sieve and discard all the ingredients.
Store for up to 3 months in freezer.

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