Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Friday: A Regal Repast

All the Best to Wills & Kate!

Tonight, I, for one, will be watching playbacks of the
Royal Wedding while eating this British-themed feast:

Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen with Gravy

Combie (Lancashire Root Vegetable Mash-up)

Steamed Asparagus Spears w/Lemon Butter

Victoria Sponge Trifles


Spatchcocked Cornish Game Hen:

1 cornish game hen, *defrosted
olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried rosemary (not ground)
1 tbsp Chicken Bisto gravy powder (Bisto is verrry British)

Spatchcock the hen by cutting up the side of the backbone then
removing it. Press down on the breastbone to flatten the bird. 
Some cooks remove the keel bone, but I just leave it in.

In a lightly oiled roasting pan, place the bird breast-side up.
Rub with about 1 tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper
and dried rosemary.

Roast uncovered in a preheated 400 oven for 45-55 minutes
(it takes 55 minutes in my oven).  Let stand on a platter for 10 minutes,
partially covered, before serving.

In the meantime, boil the backbone with 2 1/2 cups water for
1/2 hour, then reserve for the gravy.

After the bird has been cooking for 1/2 hour, put on the root vegetables
for the Combie so everything will be ready at the same time.


Strain out pan juices from roasting pan into a mug and remove
most of the fat from the top with a spoon.

Add 1 cup of broth (reserve the rest for another use - freeze in
ice cube tray) to the roasting pan, put on medium heat, and
deglaze the drippings in the bottom of the pan by stirring around 
with a spoon to loosen them.  Return the pan juices, bring to the
boil, then reduce heat and add Bisto slurry, stirring till
thickened and bubbling.

Bisto slurry:

1 tbsp Chicken Bisto gravy powder mixed to thin slurry with 2 tsp

*Defrosting the hen: I defrosted mine in an 8-cup bowl of cool
brine (7 1/2 cups water, 1/4 cup salt), covered tightly and the hen
weighted down by a small glass bowl, on the counter for 8 hours,
making sure that no part of the hen was above the water level.

You can heat up the brine first along with some peppercorns,
then thoroughly cool it overnight before adding the hen. The
brining makes the hen extremely tender and moist.

Note: In warmer months you need to first defrost the bird in the
fridge all night, then brine it in the fridge all day.

You can also skip the brining process entirely, and defrost the
bird in either the fridge or microwave.


2 whole medium potatoes, peeled
10-15 baby carrots, whole
1/2 turnip, peeled and chunked
1 parsnip, peeled and quartered
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp butter, salt & pepper

In a saucepan, add all the vegetables, and cover with water; add the
salt & sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for
30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are fork-tender.

Drain and let stand for 5 minutes.  Mash with the butter, adding
salt and pepper to taste.  This makes 2 servings because it's great
to have the next day!  If you want to freeze it, add 1 tsp sour cream first.

Steamed Asparagus:

Wash 6-8 stalks of asparagus, break off the thick ends, and place in
a steamer in a pan over 1 inch of water.  bring to a boil, cover, reduce
heat, and steam for 5 minutes or so until the stalks are fork-tender. 
Remove from steamer and toss with 1 tsp butter and a tiny bit of lemon zest.

Victoria Sponge Trifles (makes 2)

1 ½ *spongecake layers
4 tbsp Sherry or Brandy
1 cup *Bird's custard or tinned custard
4 tbsp Raspberry of Strawberry preserves
Fresh fruit for garnish
Whipped cream

*The remainder can be frozen for another use.

*Custard made according to instructions on tin.

Cut spongecake slice in half;  sandwich together with
fruit preserves. Repeat for the remaining half-slice.

Cut 2 circles of the sandwiched cake to fit the bottoms 
of 2 parfait dishes. Trim the rest of the spongecake into 
slices and fit around the inside of the dishes just above 
each centre  piece.

Sprinkle each trifle with 2 tbsp of the liqueur.  Top with 
1/2 cup custard per dish, then decorate with fruit and 
whipped cream.  Cover and let stand for at least 3 hours, 
preferably overnight.

As far as I'm concerned, when trifle's the issue, why make
1 when you can make 2? Plus, it's even better the second day!


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