"THREE FRENCH HENS"
So, once again Dante was thrilled! This time he didn't undertake to cook those French hens himself. He and Sascha secured the hens in a PTU, put on their French berets and silk scarves, and boogied on over the pond. Dante had done some research and found one of the best restaurants in Paris. He spoke with his fellow chef, Guy Savoy, who agreed to prepare this special dish just for the happy couple that very evening.
This gourmet bistro named after its chef/owner "Guy Savoy" is located at 18 rue Troyon. The menu changes with the seasons, of course, with game being a popular addition in the winter. The decor, all dark wood and leather, is very comtemPURRary. Just right for this stylish twosome.
Chef Guy took those game hens and with a little French magic (namely the Southern France Spice Mix) turned them into ...
... this. Voila!
French Game Hens with Fruit-and-Sausage Stuffing
Dante admits even he couldn't have come up with something as inspiring and delicious as this! Sascha was simply in heaven. They ate one bird apiece, and took the rest home in a 'kitty bag'.
The dish was totally evocative of the Christmas season with its cranberries, stuffing, and both fresh and dried savoury herbs. It's a much lighter alternative to turkey, too.
The recipe follows. It may be long, but Dante says it's definitely worth it. Even if you do nothing else, make up some of the Southern France Spice Mix and use it to flavour all of your poultry dishes. It would actually make a very nice gift for friends and family, too, if you put it in a fancy gift jar. As it is composed entirely of dried herbs, it should keep for a very long time.
French Game Hens with Fruit-and-Sausage Stuffing Recipe
3 lbs hen
3 lbs teaspoon Southern France Spice Mix (recipe below)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup shallots (chopped)
2 cups french bread (cubes about 2 1 ounce slices)
1 cup rome apple (chopped peeled)
1/4 lb smoked turkey sausage (diced)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup prunes (coarsely chopped pitted)
1/4 cup 1 teaspoon Southern France Spice Mix
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
4 french bread (1/2 inch thick slices)
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tbsps dried cranberries
2 tbsps shallots (chopped)
6 black peppercorns
1 cup apple juice
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
2 tbsps dry red wine
2 tsps cornstarch
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp 1/8 teaspoon Southern France Spice Mix
fresh parsley (chopped, optional)
sage (fresh, optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.
For the hens: Remove and reserve giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens under cold water, and pat dry. Halve hens lengthwise; trim excess fat. Loosen skin from breasts and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub 1/2 teaspoon Southern France Spice Mix beneath skin of each hen half. Set aside.
For the stuffing: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add bread cubes and next 7 ingredients (bread cubes through salt); cook 1 minute, stirring until well-blended. Remove from heat.
Arrange bread slices in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Spoon 3/4 cup stuffing mixture onto each bread slice. Place 1 hen half, skin side up, over each mound of stuffing mixture. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
For the sauce: Combine boiling water and 2 tablespoons cranberries in a small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
Southern France Spice Mix
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaf
Combine ingredients; stir. Store in an airtight container.
Dante and Sascha are certainly feasting well on the Christmas gifts she has given him so far. What will she come up with next? Stay tuned for "The Fourth Day of Christmas" coming tomorrow.