Easy Jamaican Cornish Game Hens

from: Jamey Bennett
to: Daniel Larkin

Hey Daniel,

I wasn’t going to make a post about this, since I didn’t do much except throw a few things together, but the result was so outstanding, and the ingredients are readily available at many grocery stores, that I thought it was worth sharing. I got all my ingredients at Whole Foods, except for the game hens (though I did seek out cage-free hens).

  • 2 Hens
  • 1 Bottle Jamaican Jerk sauce (like this)
  • 1 Bottle Carribbean-style hot sauce (this one is awesome)
  • 1 8.5 oz package of Seeds of Change Carribbean-style rice and red beans (or similar – SOC is organic, and it only needs to be heated)
  • A small amount of bell pepper, onion, and mushroom slices (or whatever you’d like)
  • Butter

The night before, I brushed the jerk sauce all over the hens, covered them and put them in the fridge.

When I was ready to eat, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. While that was heating, I sauteed the veggies in butter. When they were about done, I added the rice mix and stirred for about 60 more seconds. I took that mix, and stuffed the birds silly. It was just about the perfect amount of stuffing. Next, I brushed melted butter all over the outside of the birds, put them in a covered dish in the oven. After 30 minutes, I removed the cover and stuck a meat thermometer in the breast. (I think most say you’re supposed to do the thigh, but their thighs are so tiny.) About every 10 to 15 minutes, I got in the oven and re-brushed the butter and jerk sauce (that was in the bottom of the pan) over the birds. I think it was about 40 minutes later that they were ready. Doesn’t really matter, though, if you watch the thermometer, and brushing is the perfect opportunity. (165 degrees.)

Once I pulled them out, I carefully put them each on a plate, and drizzled the jerk sauce – now a gravy – over the tops of the birds. I served with a bowl of the hot sauce as a dipping sauce. That fruity spicy sauce was a delight! We both devoured our own hens, even after a salad. There were leftover rice and beans and veggies, but I’m going to let them soak up the gravy goodness and have it as leftovers.

Now the little carcasses are on the stove making broth! Easy, delicious, and effective.

jamey

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Thai Yellow Beer Curry

from Jamey W. Bennett
to Daniel Larkin

Dude,

So tonight when I was texting you about my yellow curry, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was (though there is certainly room for improvement), so I didn’t expect to be writing this. But damn. It was good, and my secret is beer.

Since I’m not so experienced in preparing Thai food, I’ve picked up a few books, one of which is Quick and Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott. According to my friend Christopher, she is the go-to Thai food author. Since I had some yellow curry paste on hand, I decided to do a yellow curry. And since we are in the middle of a fast, it had to be vegan-ish. So I took two of her recipes, compared them, and made my own.

  • 1 tsp of each: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, curry powder
  • 2 cans of unsweetened coconut milk
  • Yellow curry paste (to taste)
  • Various veggies
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 lb. seitan
  • 1 lb. shrimp (tails off, pre-cooked)
  • Chicken bullion cube
  • 2 tbs. Fish sauce
  • 2 tbs. Lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • Rice (I’m not going to tell you how to make rice.)

First, I took a teaspoon of cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, and curry powder, and toasted them in a skillet. It didn’t take long, and I burned it a little. Turns out that wasn’t bad thing.

Second, I took a can of coconut milk and poured it into the skillet with the seasonings, then I added 3 tablespoons of yellow curry paste. As I stirred this in, I decided it needed more curry, so I think by the end of it I probably used like 8 tablespoons. Probably a bit too spicy for some….I maybe cooked this for 10 minutes and set it aside.

Third, I sauteed 1 medium chopped onion (big pieces) in coconut oil. I’ve been enjoying using coconut and macadamia oils for high heat cooking and a slightly different flavor. (Plus, when we fast in the Orthodox Church, we ditch the olive oil, too.) I love the flavor of the coconut oil, and figured that you can’t have too much coconut in this recipe. After a few minutes, I added a variety of vegetables, including bell peppers, peas, bamboo, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Oh, and I had a handful of those long dried red peppers…but I soaked them in water for a couple hours beforehand, then chopped them up.

Fourth, once all the veggies looked good and delicious, I spooned most of them into the curry mix in the other skillet. I threw in a pound of Michael’s Savory Seitan and a pound of pre-cooked shrimp. I browned this just a tad, before dumping in some liquids.

Which brings me to five. Her recipes called for 2-1/4 cups of chicken broth or water. I opted for a chicken bullion cube. Mixed it with a cup of water, then I dumped a 12 oz. can of pale ale in with it…and transferred the liquid to the meat. No we’re cookin…let that boil for a while, bring down the volume a bit, then I added a second can of coconut milk and the vegetable-curry mix from the other skillet. Cooked for a few more minutes.

Sixth, I combined the fish sauce, lemon juice, and brown sugar in a cup and stirred it up until the sugar was disolved. Stirred this into the mix with everything else…

And finally, I put it on the table. Rice in a bowl, and curry dish in a separate bowl and enjoyed. Plenty for leftovers tomorrow, and I’m guessing it will taste even better then.

It kinda sounds complicated, but if you’ve got a decent spice rack and you keep veggies on hand, you really only need a few things. In fact, all I needed to buy was peas, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts.

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I think I used too much curry paste. It was delicious, but I might pull back a bit in the future.