No Turkey For Me: Maple-Glazed Cornish Game Hen


Telling people you don’t like turkey at Thanksgiving is akin to saying that you don’t like babies or enjoy kicking puppies. There. I said it. I’m one of those people. Except for the odd club sandwich, I’ve never been a fan of the gobble-gobble. I’m sure part of it is that because of the sheer mass of Breastasaurus rex, it’s hard to cook the inner parts without making the rest Gobi dry but I think my main problem (besides figuring out what to do with literally pounds of meat for leftovers) is the disappointingly low skin to meat ratio. And that’s where these cute little babies come in. Lots of crispety skin to succulent juicy flesh, everyone gets their own lovely half henrietta, and no one has to run the gauntlet between Uncle Herb and his carving knife. Oh, and you don’t have to set aside 4+ hours of valuable oven time that could be better spent on the most important part of the meal dessert. What’s not to like? I concur.

So, what does Cornwall have in common with tiny poultry? Absolutely nothing. Apparently these little fowl are actually tiny young chicken hybrids. And in a strangely unsurprising fashion, the gentleman who developed these chickenlets was a breast man, cross-breeding different species till he came up with a short, squat, bosom enhanced bird. Tender, juicy breasts I’ll warrant you and presentation-wise, they look pretty elegant on your plate and no strangely shaped lumps of protein near spherical “turkey breast roast” cuz um, no turkey I’ve ever seen had a perfectly round breast. More reconstituted busty augmentations? Anyhoo, I chose a maple glaze for the sweet, slightly smoky flavor and adding soy sauce for the savory component just seems to beg for a little Sriracha for heat. Balsamic vinegar adds a bit of tang and ginger and garlic play well with everyone.


No tricks to tell. This a painless dish and who doesn’t want that when Aunt Geraldine is rooting around your pantry?

1 Cornish game hen, giblets removed and cut in half lengthwise
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp Sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger powder, garlic powder, and Sriracha. Set aside.

Mix together salt, ground pepper, and sugar and season inside of hen. Place hen cut side down in a roasting pan and brush skin with glaze. Bake for 20 minutes then remove from oven and brush on more glaze. Return hens to oven till a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh measures 165F. With a convection oven it takes me 25 minutes total. Serves 2.


**Since a lot of the glaze ends up sliding down to the bottom of the roasting pan, I highly doubt the sodium content is anywhere near 1000 mg, now the cholesterol is another story but that’s the least of your holiday worries, no?

About Cam

Enjoying the hippie life in Portlandia :)


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