Ancho Cider Glazed Hens
I love those little Cornish Games Hens. And I love chiles so when I saw this recipe for Ancho Cider Glazed Hens on Splendidtable.com I had to make it.
1 large onion, cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
4 Cornish game hens
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart apple cider, boiled down to about 2/3 cup (this takes a LONG time, best to do a day ahead)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs ground Ancho chile
2 tbs packed light brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To make the glaze stir together in a medium bowl the reduced apple cider, cider vinegar, soy sauce, ground chile, brown sugar, and garlic. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the sauce over each hen.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover the bottom of a large shallow baking pan (a half-sheet pan is ideal) with the onion rounds. Tie together the hens’ legs with cotton string. Arrange the hens, breast side up, on the onions. You want some space around each one so they can crisp up. Sprinkle the birds with salt and pepper.
Place the pan into the oven and reduce the heat to 325°F. Roast the hens for 30 minutes, basting with their pan juices once or twice. Then raise the heat to 400°F., baste each hen with about 2 tablespoons of sauce, and continue roasting and basting with pan juices for 20 – 30 more minutes or until the thickest part of the breast reads 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.
At this point spoon a bit more sauce over the hens and run them under the broiler briefly, so they turn a rich, deep brown. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.
Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the hens to a platter, and let them rest in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes.
Set the roasting pan on two burners and remove the onions from the pan. Add any remaining basting sauce to the roasting pan. Raise the heat to medium-high or high. With a wood spatula, scrape any brown glaze from the pan and stir as you boil the pan sauce for 3 minutes, or until it’s rich tasting and almost syrupy. Salt and pepper to taste.
This was delicious, sweet and spicy. It is the perfect dinner party food. Everyone gets a little chicken and gets all sticky eating it. I will be making this one again.